Coronavirus and exercise

Better Health campaign logo

Staying active

Keeping physically active is important for our physical and mental wellbeing.

The easing of restrictions and the opening of sports facilities, as part of the government's roadmap out of lockdown, allows more physical activity to take place.

You can do unlimited exercise but there are limits on the number of people you can exercise with. You can exercise in a group of up to 30 people when outdoors. When indoors, you can exercise:

  • on your own
  • in a group of up to 6 people
  • in a larger group of any size from up to 2 households (and their support bubbles, if eligible)

You can also take part in formally organised indoor and outdoor sports or licensed physical activity with any number of people (organised by a business, charity or public body), see the full guidance on the UK Government's website.

Why is being active so important?

No matter how young or old you are, regular physical activity helps you feel fit, relaxed, gives you more energy, boosts your immunity and helps protect you against a range of diseases including heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression. It can also help you to maintain a healthy weight.

For children and young people being active helps develop a strong heart, and strong muscles and bones.  

For older people it especially helps with balance, co-ordination, maintaining muscle and bone strength and the flexibility of joints – which means you are less likely to have a fall. See our Coronavirus and older people page for a list of useful online resources which includes safe exercises to do at home.

Be active as often as you can

If you are unable to participate in your regular activities, there are plenty of other forms of activity which can be enjoyed. A 10-minute walk or cycle around the neighbourhood or a few strength exercises such as squats, push ups or sit ups can improve our mood. If you have a dog, taking them out for daily exercise will allow you both to enjoy a short time away from home.

Avoid long periods of not moving at all, particularly when online or working from home.  Take regular breaks from the screen – do ten sit-to-stand moves from your chair or some arm raises above your head.  All movement counts!

If you are shielding or unable to leave the house, all movement around the house or garden is beneficial.

There are a number of resources detailed in the TV schedule as well as online.  The Active Sussex website has some great ways to get you and your family moving at home. Some local services, including our Wellbeing service, provide online video classes to enable you to carry on with, or join a new activity. Check your usual provider for details. 

If you are recovering from feeling unwell with potential or actual COVID-19 it is best to avoid strenuous activity as you recover. Start slowly, perhaps with short walks, do what feels good and increase your physical activity when you feel ready.

There are a number of options, for every level of fitness (see list below).   If you have a garden, doing these exercises outdoors will have further benefit.

Useful websites

Your Wellbeing hub

Topics