Travel for exercise

Relax restrictions around travelling for exercise; instead of trying to exercise on crowded parks and paths in urban settings, allow travelling to further-afield areas. Keep closed 'honeypot' car parks and start points that would otherwise encourage people to congregate. And, if necessary at first, continue to limit exercise to individuals / household groups only.

Why the contribution is important

It would be far lower risk to walk / exercise in open countryside than in busy parks / paths in urban settings. It would just require individuals to be diligent about avoiding crowding at popular car parks / start points. But this is still less risky than a busy park, canal towpath etc.

by adam309 on May 05, 2020 at 02:09PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.6
Based on: 44 votes


  • Posted by TonyDonnelly May 05, 2020 at 14:13

    Agreed .
  • Posted by Fifer72 May 05, 2020 at 14:13

    Absolutely agree, I'd go further, 'honeypot' areas and car parks could be managed to minimise risk and still allow use, there is no need to close them.
  • Posted by Nalcantara May 05, 2020 at 14:19

    Absolutely agree! We pass tens of people walking around the city. A short drive away we would barely cross a couple.
  • Posted by Jomccolgan May 05, 2020 at 14:19

    As a Chartered Physiotherapist I know that exercise is of such an important value to people's physical and mental health. If people are exercising with a family memeber or on their own and need to travel a certain distance to do this safely, then it should be allowed. This should enable people to avoid crowded areas and minimise contact with others. It would boost people's overall health including mood, immune system and tolerance for a longer period of social distancing / lockdown.
  • Posted by Ghart May 05, 2020 at 14:24

    People turn up a different times making congregating in car parks unlikely.
  • Posted by HelenO May 05, 2020 at 14:25

    Totally agree. Have it like England where as long as your exercise is longer than the journey, you can drive to a place to exercise. When I walk along the road locally I have to continually get off the pavement to let other people pass by. There has to be a balance and pragmatic approach to exercising.
  • Posted by SconeBurns May 05, 2020 at 15:05

    I think that travel further afield for exercise should be permitted. Apart from anything else, prolonged restrictions to a limited local area will likely encourage people to break the local 'lockdown', and they will travel further afield for the simple reason that people get cabin fever even in their own local area over a prolonged period of time. It is better to allow this to happen and try to get a modicum of control over it, if necessary, than to deny it and face an inevitable breaking of the rules by an increasing number of people. I think we need to accept that people, on the whole, will try to be responsible as they demonstrated in the Foot and Mouth period and as they are largely demonstrating now. I do not concur with the idea of insisting the exercise be longer than the time it takes to travel to a place for a variety of good reasons. However, I do see a problem with 'hotspots' and how this is managed.
  • Posted by dkwatt May 05, 2020 at 16:38

    They cant police it just now in the middle of the lockdown what chance would they have of policing it if it was open season again to access these places. You only have to refer back to the weekend before the lockdown to see what would happen.
  • Posted by Rachel_T1502 May 05, 2020 at 17:03

    Totally agree with initial poster and almost all comments-where I live current measures are resulting in people congregating on the pavements locally instead to excercise, spilling out into roads which can feel dangerous as cars occasionally can be seen driving very fast. people jogging pass very close, breathing heavily and there is no time/warning to move a safe distance away from them. I agree there would need to be very careful management of certain hotspots, certain carparks/footpaths and facilities and toilets perhaps remaining closed such as areas by loch Lomond and policing of specific areas to monitor and prevent crowds if feasible...
  • Posted by ljk84 May 05, 2020 at 17:07

  • Posted by adam309 May 05, 2020 at 17:35

    If a few 'honeypot' hiking areas were to get busy, this would still be lower-risk than having hundreds of people out walking / running in the same city park like we do at present. (Not to mention far lower risk than any indoor setting like public transport or shops). The most popular places could be policed, but you'd hope above all the public will apply common sense and move to a different area if their initial destination looks too busy to maintain social distancing. Asking people to continue limiting any activity to the same few blocks of city streets and busy parks for the indefinite future is unsustainable and I believe poses far higher risk to people's physical and mental wellbeing than the risk of them catching or spreading Covid while in open countryside.
  • Posted by poppetandmog May 05, 2020 at 19:19

    Closing park car parks makes no sense to me. In a large country park such as Drumpellier, I can easily stay several metres away from passers by, even on a busy day. In my local area where the pavements are narrow, it's impossible to socially distance from anyone.
  • Posted by sbecker May 05, 2020 at 19:24

    I couldn't agree more. Allowing people to access the outdoors, while social distancing, offers huge benefits to mental health with only a minimal risk of increased virus transmission. In practice allowing people who live in cities to travel further and access outdoor spaces, increases their ability to actually socially distance effectively. Where I live local outdoor spaces are now regularly crowded with people exercising which makes effective social distancing extremely difficult. The ability to travel further and enjoy some outdoor activity would definitely make even strict adherence to social distancing much more manageable the rest of the time. To decide how and when to remove a given restriction you need to look at why that particular restriction was enforced to begin with. I think it's important here to distinguish between restrictions which were put in place because they directly impact the transmission of the virus, like social distancing and other restrictions that were aimed at reducing any additional demand for the NHS. To me continued social distancing seems completely justified given the rate of infection in the population is still high and the current lack of treatment or a vaccine. But other measures like restrictions on travel and guidance against outdoor activity were deemed necessary based on the fear that the NHS would be imminently and catastrophically overrun by Covid-19 patients. So now that we are past the peak and hospitals have fortunately not been catastrophically overrun as initially feared, restrictions on travel and outdoor access enacted in response to that fear, should now be lifted. Accessing outdoor spaces is good for mental health and makes social distancing guidance easy to follow. Continuing to unnecessarily restrict access because of a perceived threat that never materialised can no longer be justified.
  • Posted by Rhubarb May 05, 2020 at 19:46

    Totally agree with this. Overall compliance with lockdown rules has been good, so the public should be given the opportunity to show they can go to the countryside and still maintain social distancing. I'd also agree with the content that there isn't necessarily a requirement to close all popular car parks either. Perhaps close car parks only used for a single hill walk, yes. But it's possible to park in a busy car park and then be distanced from others after that, for example at a beach, country park, or National Trust type place. When so much has been taken away from us, giving back the freedom to get out to the countryside would mean so much.
  • Posted by ProtestTheHero May 06, 2020 at 16:02

    We don't live within walking distance of a park, but we are within a ten-minute drive of six different parks and country parks. However, we can't visit any of them without driving to the so-called "honeypot" car parks, which are absolutely nothing of the sort. Unless your plan is to maintain a postcode lottery where only people who live within walking distance of a park can use it, car parks must re-open for parks to re-open properly. However, I do agree parks are far safer exercise environments than narrow pavements in built-up areas with passing traffic preventing everyone from keeping two metres apart.
  • Posted by gavmac May 07, 2020 at 13:20

    It's a great idea. We have a dog and use our exercise time to walk him. If we walk to our local park, we spend most of our time trying to avoid others, especially on the streets, crossing and recrossing to avoid others but inevitably pass close to other people. We could jump in the car, drive for less than 10 minutes and walk in isolation, not seeing a soul, as we've been doing for years. In which of these scenarios are we more likely to catch or spead the virus?
  • Posted by AnaMaria May 07, 2020 at 16:12

    I commented on another thread about being outside more than once a day suggesting a similar idea to help those who can’t walk far get some access to scenery and fresh air. I feel social distancing needs to be reinforced if this is agreed and if that means wearing a face covering out of the car so be it.
  • Posted by WilfredLawrieNicholasJohnson May 07, 2020 at 16:40

    Good idea. A change of scene would be good for peoples mental health. Limit trip to 10 miles.
  • Posted by Reid2020 May 07, 2020 at 18:05

    Is it worth looking at the Irish approach to exercise, expanding the distance people are allowed to travel as we go down the line? Going round the same area over and over and over again feels detrimental to mental health. I accept there is a level of risk and relying on people to not take the p, but that's already the case to some degree, and it would reward those who are doing the right thing.
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