The UK continues to observe certain rules in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wherever you are in the UK, you can leave the home to exercise.

Our Communications and Media Manager, Kath Shaw, outlines how we can use this opportunity safely.

Kathryn Shaw
Wak the right way graphics

‘Social distancing’ wasn’t in our vocabulary a few months ago. Now it’s everywhere. Add in ‘self-isolation’ and talk of vulnerable groups, it’s no wonder it can get confusing.

As of 23 March though, the new restrictions were much clearer: we must stay at home. However, we could still leave the home for vital shopping and medicine, to care for someone else, and to exercise. 

But, we must stay two metres away from others.

From 13 May, these rules changed slightly for people in England only, (as outlined in: Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy).

You can now leave the house to exercise as much as you like. And you can now meet up with one person maximum from outside your household in a public space (i.e. a park, not their home or garden).

When you do meet with them, you must continue to comply with social distancing guidelines and remain two metres away.

For the rest of the UK, all original rules remain - as explained below. For specific, up-to-date guidance for Wales, you can visit the Welsh Govt website, and for Scotland, visit the Scottish Govt website. 

The guidance below is applicable to everyone in the UK, unless stated otherwise. 



Walk locally


Choose open spaces


Wash your hands when you get home

...and stay 2 metres apart from others

It’s incredibly important that we keep active even now, both for our own wellbeing and to avoid storing up massive health problems for ourselves and the NHS in the future.

Just a 20-minute walk can prevent long-term health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.  


We’ve put together a Q&A to help you walk whilst staying safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19, along with some tips on how you can keep your walk fresh.  

All the advice is in line with Government guidance, which means there are some variations for England and the rest of the UK since the guidance changed (effective from 13 May). 

However, at Living Streets we want one thing to stay the same: we want everyone to still be able to walk safely. 

As always, we’re including all pedestrians, including those who use wheelchairs or mobility aids.  

What does two metres look like?

Two metres is just over 6 feet, but since we do not all carry a tape measure with us, think of it as a minimum of three normal strides for an adult.

Here's a helpful photo from Strider, though:


What is the difference between social distancing and self-isolation? 

Self-isolation means staying at home. It applies to people who have symptoms of coronavirus and people who live with them. 

Social distancing is about ways to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus and is advised for everyone. Coronavirus may not have hit you or your community yet, but acting like it has can help stop it doing so. 

The NHS advice for people at 'very high risk' and those with coronavirus symptoms is recommending people to stay at home. 

Can I walk to the shops? 

If you are showing symptoms oliving with someone who is then you should avoid going to the shops. Arrange for friends and family to shop for you and leave your shopping on the doorstep.  

If you have no symptoms and are not living with someone who does then you can go to the shops for essentials. Many shops have started to mark out this distance in their queues. If they haven’t, don’t feel pressured to standing close to the person in front.  

Can I walk with my own family/people I live with? 

Walking with people in your immediate household is fine, as you’re already in contact with them in the home 

However, be mindful not to walk in a large family group and take up the pavement. As we already know, many of our pavements aren’t very wide. You need to leave at least two metres room for others to pass you confidently and safely. 

England only

Govt has been advised that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, so have updated their rules so people can now spend time outdoors. 

You can meet up with one person maximum from outside your household in a public space (eg. a park, not their home or garden). When you do meet with them, you must continue to comply with social distancing guidelines and remain two metres away.   

I don’t feel well enough to leave the home but I want to stay active. How can I do that? 

NHS advice suggests you spend time in your garden, if you have one. If you don’t Sport England has lots of great ways to stay active in the home and One You have some 10-minute home workout videos here.  

Check out our information for people in 'high risk' and 'very high risk' categories.


Is it okay to go to my neighbour’s house? 


By all means share a wave or a smile, or talk over your front garden. However, it’s important that you maintain the two-metre distance. If you think your neighbour might need food or other essentials getting, you can arrange via phone,  internet or from a distance and leave these on their doorstep.  

Can I go for a run or cycle? 

You can, just make sure you maintain two metres from others. Our friends at Cycling UK have put together their own advice on cycling safely and responsibly during this time.  

The same advice as when you’re walking with your family goes for this. Leave at least two metres for others to pass by you. Be mindful that breathing heavily, as you do when you’re on a run, can be intimidating to others and might stop them from wanting to get out and go for a walk.  

England only

You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household – this means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household.

Can I go to the playground with my children?  


Playgrounds can be busy, and the virus can survive on plastic and metal for two to three days, so under the new announcement these areas will be closed off. 

Bring your own bike, scooter or play equipment to the park instead.  

Surfaces are possible sources of contamination, so bring your own disinfectant wipes and wash your hands as soon as you get home.  

How do I keep my walk interesting? 

You might be having to walk a lot of the same routes if you usually rely on public transport to take you to other destinations.  

Why not take this time to really look around your local area? You could Rate Your Walk using our online tool or even carry out your own community street audit to spot improvements that could be made to your neighbourhood to make walking easier.  

Rely on children and their creative minds to keep things interesting. Jane, our Project Coordinator in Merseyside has been spotting rainbows with her daughter

Or, try our Scavenger Hunt


We’ll be sharing photos of people getting active whilst following the two metre rules. #walkingfromhome.

Give it a follow for inspiration, get involved and stay in touch.