Exercise rules in new lockdown: what you can and can't do

Boost your wellbeing during lockdown with our quick guide to staying fit, healthy and happy within the new rules

Exercise rules in new lockdown
(Image credit: Fitbit)

With this week's announcements, the UK has moved back into a national lockdown. If you’re anything like us here at T3, then there’s a strong sense of déjà vu in the air this morning. Although we can't visit the shops anymore to pass the time, exercising outdoors is still allowed, albeit with restrictions. Here, we'll try to explain exercise rules in the new lockdown, as well as what you can and can't do.

Here are the new exercise lockdown rules

Now, like last year’s national lockdown in March, things have been pretty comprehensively locked off: schools have switched to remote learning, most shops will close in all areas bar the essentials, and those of you who can work from home should do so, if possible. Sport in the UK now looks like this:

  • Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must close in England. In Scotland, Golf courses can stay open with a maximum of two players from two households
  • In Northern Ireland, outdoor exercise is permitted but only with members of your own household
  • Elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) - or those on an official elite sports pathway - to compete and train
  • Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed
  • Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue

And while the stringent new rules will curtail life as we know it for now, certain things have still been OK’d by the government. Exercise can go ahead in a limited capacity, as long as it adheres to new national lockdown rules.

Running in the cold

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Exercise rules in the new lockdown

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself: running, cycling and HIIT workouts in your local area is permitted
  • with the people you live with: as long as you adhere to general social distancing rules. Police will most likely check groups of over six exercising together.
  • with your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one): same as above
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare: ditto
  • or, when on your own, with one person from another household: this opens up a few possibilities, such as training outdoors with a PT or anyone else as long as social distancing rules are followed.

'Public outdoor places' include the following:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • the grounds of a heritage site - playgrounds

best core exercise for six pack abs and strong core

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Home workouts

Lockdown caused a seismic shift in the way we exercised back in 2020, making it more home based, and economical with space. Despite those extra Christmas calories, now is a good time to ease back into a gentle home workout routine. We’ve got lots of tips on how to do this without breaking the bank, be you a beginner or somebody looking to establish a more comprehensive regimen, your home can provide ample space to do some gentle workout routines.

Those who have already adopted a get-fit new year’s resolution will panic with the news of the new restrictions. But, fear not: you can still invest in your health and get fit with our best workouts and diet tips. Acclimatise to the new year with a mix of dietary improvements to go along with your new fitness drive; we’re a fan of challenging yourself, but also being kind to yourself. Be patient, boost your metabolism and drink more water.

Upgrade your home gym

Those of you who see the gym as a sort of sanctuary away from home might think that home workouts need that extra umph. It can boggle the mind sifting through the gym equipment. Here at T3 we want to save you time and steer you to what you need, delivering bang for buck, with versatility and ease of setup through our very own best home gym equipment guide. 

Obviously, everyone’s fitness goal is different: if you’re looking to build those functional muscles with some cardio, while introducing some kettlebell and dumbbell work, then look no further than our guide. We’re acutely aware of the shortage of such equipment when these short notice lockdowns come in, as everyone scrambles to secure their equipment.

If you fall into this category and have missed the boat, but still want an intense programme then Nathan McCallum’s ultimate bodyweight workout will push you to your limits. It’s gains focused and will get the pump on without any equipment; more, it uses a small set of circuit manoeuvres like jump squats and mountain climbers to steadily amp up the pressure. Three rounds and you’ll be well and truly beat. 


(Image credit: Centr)

Reach for the best health apps

We’re no stranger to the difficulty of kicking off a healthy diet, but it can be done with a little help from our best workout apps. It can help you aggregate your food intake, while allowing you to enjoy cooking. Once you’ve got a hold on your weight goals, you can cut out bad foodstuffs for something more nourishing (and, most importantly, tasty).

And, finally: if you’ve read through this article and can see yourself falling at the first sign of any mention of the word fitness, then we understand. It can be a big ask in more difficult times at the moment. A great way to gradually co-opt these things into a fitness journey for Lockdown 3.0 is these 5 easy strategies, integrating small changes that deliver big results. Using the outdoors for socially-distanced walking with small shifts in pace, or getting out on the exercise bike. 

And do remember to always be safe and socially-distanced – all outdoor exercise done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space).

Luke Wilson

Luke is a former news writer at T3 who covered all things tech at T3. Disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors (when not indoors messing around with gadgets), Luke wrote about a wide-array of subjects for T3.com, including Android Auto, WhatsApp, Sky, Virgin Media, Amazon Kindle, Windows 11, Chromebooks, iPhones and much more, too.