Socially Distant Sports/Activities

Allow people to start playing sports or carrying out activities where social distancing is part of that sport or activity, examples such as; wild swimming, surfing, hill walking/climbing, golf, tennis (potentially with gloves?), cricket, athletics.

Why the contribution is important

Open facilities that can support these activities allowing a section of the economy to get going with social distancing considerations. Carrying out chosen activities will have a major impact on mental health.

by rmackay14 on May 05, 2020 at 02:18PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.9
Based on: 120 votes


  • Posted by doccy May 05, 2020 at 14:23

    Makes sense. Someone needs to realise that the amount of NHS resources taken up dealing with hill walking for example is miniscule in the grand scheme of things. As long as social distancing and cleaning are in place at fuel pumps / shops - minimal travel for these activities needs to be reopened ASAP.
  • Posted by Sue24 May 05, 2020 at 14:24

    Given the number of people out walking/ cycling even in my rural village, this makes total sense. If basic precautions can be observed let people choose the relatively low risk of non contact sports and activities.
  • Posted by Alasdrum May 05, 2020 at 14:25

  • Posted by Jomccolgan May 05, 2020 at 14:28

    If exercising outdoors , in relatively small groups at a safe social distance is a low risk for covid infection then it should be allowed. Competition can be adjusted to optimise safety - starts could be staggered , or maximum numbers of certain age groups could be included for example . This again would give some resumption of normality yet still adding some easily workable social distancing measures.
  • Posted by GMac01 May 05, 2020 at 14:35

    Exercising outdoors whilst respecting social distancing should not be an issue. Golf for example is well placed to meet this criteria
  • Posted by Barbaram May 05, 2020 at 14:36

    Another sport to add to the list is Rowing. Activity is outdoors and numbers can be managed within a club environment. Restrict use to singles and family members from the same households in crews
  • Posted by Kerryek05 May 05, 2020 at 14:40

    This should include motorcycling either alone or in small groups(no more than 3)only taking pillion riders from same household. Where when stopping for comfort breaks/petrol allows for social distancing to observed. Benefit to mental health /wellbeing
  • Posted by Thomas54 May 05, 2020 at 14:54

    I do believe that golf in particular is well placed to cope with the safe distance policy’s ! Golfers are very well tuned to “rules” and further extension of these can be adapted to allow this form of sport, but great exercise. The sport’s governing body has already published some easy to follow steps for golfers an clubs to adhere to, and very easy to police!
  • Posted by Moonstone88 May 05, 2020 at 15:38

    With regard to hill walking, climbing and other such sports, why not go back to pre mobile phone days, I.e. no rescue services available therefore you self rescue. This will change people’s decision making processes and reduce consequential risk.
  • Posted by Markxd May 05, 2020 at 15:43

    Exercising within your own local area whilst observing social distancing should not be an issue. Travelling a short distance to exercise in a remote location where social distancing is easier should be allowed as this removes people from using the same local areas for exercise. People should be encouraged to minimise risks i.e. always be able to get yourself home!
  • Posted by SconeBurns May 05, 2020 at 16:27

    If we are in this for the long haul, we need to realistically consider those activities and trust that people will act responsibly. I think in all cases regarding what are considered 'extreme' sports people should perhaps be asked to partake in their sport at levels which are well within their ability and to not 'push the risk' for the sake of substantially reducing the danger to rescue services while the virus transmission risk is high? Windsurfing should be allowed too! It is very much an individual sport. Canoeing should also be allowed in the context of a competent individual partaking either on their own or in a socially distanced or family group, the latter being very achievable on sheltered lochs, properly risk assessed. I do not believe that exercising should be restricted to a local area provided controls are put in place re parking hotspots and people are responsible re social distancing. It has already been stated widely that virus transmission outdoors is vanishingly small compared to indoors and if people follow the precautions they are being asked to take now, I do not see that the risk would be substantially increased re virus transmission.
  • Posted by Rachel_T1502 May 05, 2020 at 16:31

    Agree with all the above- I currently find myself on busy pavements with runners etc going past too close on the streets by my flat even when people are spreading out into the road, due to being unable to travel even a short distance to excercise, the local parks are all busier than usual too- it would seem very sensible to allow people to travel sensible distances to utilise the large areas of open space nearby and allow them to excercise more safely, not to mention the massive mental health benefit from quiet peaceful natural outdoor spaces
  • Posted by Stuart1964 May 05, 2020 at 16:46

    Sport and outdoor activities are key to maintaining physical and psychological health. All outdoor sports where there is no prolonged physical contact should be encouraged. Training for team sports could commence if appropriate safe guards were put in place. Sports are a way of reducing the collateral damage of the lockdown and need to be encouraged. Also improving the cardiovascular fitness and general physical health of the population improves our chances of not falling to COVID 19.
  • Posted by ljk84 May 05, 2020 at 16:59

    completely agree
  • Posted by GordonI102 May 05, 2020 at 17:04

    Completely agree. I have no idea why golf courses have closed when they have demonstrated many ways in which social distancing can be maintained.
  • Posted by Benjydawg May 05, 2020 at 17:30

    Completely agree with the above, we need to reopen the car parks for beaches and hills and be allowed to travel to those locations for the purpose of solitary excercise or with members od household. The police guidance in England and Wales is along the lines of if your travel time is not as long as your excercise time then this is reasonable. However, given the very low risk of these activities and generally large car parks and open spaces there should be no need to move outside the current guidance, with the exception of being allowed to drive and park at a carpark for the purpose of excercise.
  • Posted by costap May 05, 2020 at 17:36

    At the moment if I want to exercise I'm constraint to go running in my local area. I live in Leith and I would feel safer if I could drive a short distance to a local beach and go out windsurfing where there is plenty of space then go for a run or walk in water of Leith which is always packed with people running, cycling or walking the dogs and is hard to keep distance.
  • Posted by CoconutJam May 05, 2020 at 17:44

    Agree - we are using a (necessary) blunt tool at the moment but we'll have to find a way of living with Covid-19 in the medium term at least. Allowing socially-distant solo sports makes sense in many ways. The risks of surfing/windsurfing for example are far smaller than cycling, I'd argue. If people are sensible and don't take unnecessary risks, we should be able to find a way forward that works for everyone.
  • Posted by Judeshay May 05, 2020 at 17:50

    Over crowded parks and walk ways are not healthy, as a windsurfer I would feel much safer in the sea. Please consider allowing individuals use the beaches in a careful and mindful way. We will obey social distancing and this will have a positive effect on our mental healths
  • Posted by RHanchard May 05, 2020 at 19:49

    Would like to be able to go windsurfing as it really helps physical and mental well being. It's only possible in the right conditions, so wouldn't be everyday or even every weekend. Social distancing easily practiced both on the beach and water. Low risk sport if users go out in manageable conditions i.e not storms and cold temperatures which wouldn't be applicable in the summer anyway. Best location in East Lothian / Edinburgh windsurfing is Gullane Beach. Would require a widening of the path down as already only about a foot wide down to the main beach which is bad enough just walking down let alone with windsurfing equipment.
  • Posted by MelMel May 05, 2020 at 23:58

    I agree that if more freedom was allowed for hillwalkers/runners/cyclists or those who normally exercise in less urban settings it will make social distancing easier in the areas where people are currently congregating to exercise. It is crazy and difficult in some parks or walkways to get space of any kind and often very difficult to socially distance. I usually walk my dog in more remote places and would welcome the chance to drive a short distance and get away from the crowds
  • Posted by pkerlaff May 06, 2020 at 08:13

    Windsurfing and surfing develops a heightened appreciation of the natural environment in relation to ability and equipment, which is part of why they offer extraordinary mental and physical health benefits. Surfers normally only go into the water with one or two others, for safety, and avoid crowded spots. Many surf spots are not at crowded beach areas to begin with - due to our varied coastline and weather, we will never have the problems seen at Bondi Beach. For Windsurfers, who use Longniddry and Gullane parking areas, there is ample space to park responsibly and volunteers would be very willing to cut back vegetation to widen paths, for example.
  • Posted by andrewtlloyd May 06, 2020 at 13:50

    Completely agree that amateur/social golf, cricket, tennis, hill-walking, etc. can easily be achieved without compromising social distancing. Players would probably need to come dressed for play as the changing rooms would be an issue. This is just as much about mental well-being (via human interaction/banter/bonding) as it is about physical exercise.
  • Posted by Huge May 06, 2020 at 15:59

    If proper guidelines are issued and definition of social distancing in a sports setting that looks like the police guidance document would be helpful to ensure risks can be established and checked. I think it is important that by identifying safe ways people can recover a degree of normality they are less likely to do things that are higher risk or to break rules that may introduce more risk because they are harder to identify and be caught. This will reduce police time on policing low risk activities and allow them to focus on other things.
  • Posted by shazzaem May 06, 2020 at 21:37

    Little to no transmission outdoors so all outdoor sport should be open for both training and matches (club level not professional where it may attract crowds). Keep clubhouses closed until bars and restaurants reopened.
  • Posted by AEM May 07, 2020 at 10:07

    Consider athletics clubs resuming outdoor coaching while keeping club houses and changing facilities closed. Very low risk and hugely beneficial to mental and physical well-being.
  • Posted by JohnA May 07, 2020 at 13:47

    Outdoor activities (such as hiking) with only members of your household should not increase the transmission rate greatly. You could trial this by putting a restriction on how far you are allowed to travel to access the outdoor space in the first instance and if it goes ok, widen the travel restriction. I think the wellbeing benefits would be great and the transmission downsides small. There is a concern of Mountain Rescue and similar services being under more pressure if this is allowed. You could add some rules that would mitigate this, for example (as with everything in this lockdown, these are mostly self-policed anyway): - Some guidance that only those with experience should be going outside. - Not allowing it on days with a poor weather forecast. - Having a time limit on how long you can go outdoors for. - Requiring all outdoor activities (hikes etc.) to start before a certain time of day. - Limiting access to beauty spots and heavily trafficked trails perhaps by using permits available on a website.
  • Posted by Simonfielding May 07, 2020 at 15:10

    The extra load on rescue services is unlikely to be unmanageable. The risk adverse citizens will not put themselves in a situation that requires external help and the more risk tolerant are likely to be able to look after themselves. There will inevitably be incidents/accidents but that has always been the case. It’s why we have rescue services. People taking part in outdoor activities aren’t being irresponsible, they are just enjoying the challenge. These adventurers also spend a considerable amount on equipment, accommodation and travel, providing a much needed stimulus to an economy that is in desperate need. SimonF (member of rescue services)
  • Posted by Zurburu May 07, 2020 at 19:05

    One benefit of our current predicament is that people are walking and cycling more, yet they are restricted to doing this close to where they live: for most this means crowded streets and parks in towns and cities. Open up the countryside and coast for exercise : no sunbathing, picnics or bbqs for now but people should be able to enjoy more of nature. Perhaps if we were limited to 50 miles from home it would stop people driving hundreds of miles to beauty spots. And car park capacity puts an obvious limit on how many people are in one place.
  • Posted by markcou May 08, 2020 at 09:29

    I would suggest that any outdoor non team activity, where social distancing can be achieved, should be allowed within a geographical distance. This can be applied to sports, hobbies and business activities equally.
  • Posted by robbiephillips_ May 08, 2020 at 10:34

    I think that so long as social distancing can still be achieved, then people should still be allowed to partake in outdoor sports such as hill walking, rock climbing, etc... What this means for me is no extensive travel to reach destinations, but to only utilise the areas within your district. If you go to a climbing area for example and there are people there, then take the higher ground and leave, or find a way you can enjoy your activity away from others. Activities in the mountains should be approached with care and respect as to the potential dangers that they can incur. As Mountain Rescue is a non-desirable outcome, any activities in the mountain should be reduced to those that are well within your own abilities and level of experience, and to be allotted the right amount of time so that you can be out and back before dark. Activities such as Bouldering, Sport Climbing and Top Roping have such a small risk that I'd honestly consider them a more socially responsible activity than cycling or running in the inner city currently. With so much movement of people in the inner city and the obvious lack of experience from new runners and cyclists I've seen on the roads, other activities such as climbing and hill walking are just a much safer alternative. Saying that, rules still need to be applied and like I said above, I'd allow these activities in the safety of small numbers from singular households, as well as respecting social distancing guidelines, and within a designated distance from your home.
  • Posted by klcmunro May 08, 2020 at 15:42

    Mountaineering has a very low incident rate in comparison to other sports. Surely it's more likely the unfit people taking up jogging right now are more risky than people who regularly climb?
  • Posted by MarcoC May 08, 2020 at 16:01

    Yes. Accidents can happen anywhere doing anything but when people act within their limits they're greatly reduced. In the grand scheme of things the risk of outdoor activities must be incredibly low but the benefit to mental and physical health is disproportionately high. It's not the time to start pushing your grades but keeping things ticking over responsibly would be a massive help to a huge number of people - especially if you could meet a friend (whilst remaining distant) to do it.
  • Posted by Swimmersooz May 08, 2020 at 18:09

    It is a lot easier to socially distance while open water swimming than it currently is trying to find a quiet time to walk round my local streets and green spaces eg Blackford Hill. It would be wonderful to be able to go for swims at apt Edinburgh locations such as Portobello beach and Threipmuir reservoir, at non-busy times eg early mornings and evenings .
  • Posted by Pjjones May 08, 2020 at 22:36

    When opening up outdoor activities such as hillwalking, I think limits on driving distance would be counterproductive increasing visits to more accessible areas (think Ben Lomond) rather than encouraging social distancing. It would be more useful to strictly control parking in areas where high visitor numbers are likely an issue, to avoid overcrowding. People who are willing to travel further in the absence of hotels, restaurants etc. are likely to be in smaller numbers and pretty confident about their activities.
  • Posted by apple4me May 08, 2020 at 23:41

    Completely agree. Stand Up Paddleboarding / SUPing should be added to the list too. It is isolated by it's very nature. Agree guidance on behaving responsibly and being prepared to self-rescue would help too.
  • Posted by CathyO May 09, 2020 at 13:14

    Agree that there are many sporting activities that should, with people acting responsibly, be allowed to resume. We are looking at a long period of time until we can meet outside our 'household' or 'bubble' and need all the encouragement possible to get active. So, yes to tennis, golf, sailing, surfing, canoeing, rowing,windsurfing and hillwalking. We need these changes for our mental health.
  • Posted by Scotland_is_flatlining May 10, 2020 at 12:06

    Include boating in the above list. There is so much more to support than headline grabbing football and rugby which are a distraction and require hazmat suits to enable social distancing.
  • Posted by HilaryQ May 11, 2020 at 10:23

    Orienteering is also well suited to suitable personal distancing. Small-scale local training and events can be held without compromising the requirements. Because we log participants, we also have the means to carry out contact tracing if a participant subsequently informs us that they are showing symptoms or have tested positive.
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