How to cope with no access to sports or gyms during lockdown

By: George Clarke

The impact of this second lockdown on the mental health and wellbeing of the general
population is a subject which is difficult to ignore. The first lockdown increased rates of
depression and anxiety within the UK well above normal rates. Health and financial worries,
general uncertainty, routine disruption and limited social contact will all contribute to this
problem. That was all the case in the first lockdown, but this time round we are entering the
winter months, with shorter daylight hours, grey skies and temperature drops added into the


Of the many benefits regular exercise provides, it’s positive impacts on mental health has never
been more important! The inability to go to the gym and play sports with friends is an
unfortunate result of the most recent lockdown rules. Those who rely on these activities for
maintenance of their mental wellbeing will no doubt be negatively impacted if over the next


In a recent press conference, Boris Johnson, responded to a question on this very subject by
saying that these rules are a “necessary part of a package of measures put in place to reduce
the R rate”. Before this he has also admitted that “We know the cost of these restrictions, the
damage they do, the impact on jobs, and on livelihoods, and on people’s mental health,’
So, what’s to be done over the next 28 days. Well as personal trainers, we understand the
impact this is having on our client’s health and wellbeing! We’ve been busy trying to figure out
how we can properly navigate this lockdown period.

Here’s the advice we’ve been giving:


1. Don’t just stop! – It’s tempting to simply give up in the face of these new restrictions, not
engage in any form of activity with the assumption that there’s just no point. We highly
recommend you don’t fall into this trap! In the words of Bear Grylls.. improvise, adapt,


2. Create your new routine – find the times during the week you could dedicate to exercise
(you probably have more time spare during lockdown). Make these time slots regular
and explicit, then stick to them.


3. Identify a workout space at home – the first thing to do when building a home gym is
identifying a space (we explain in this article).


4. Create a minimalist workout program – you can seek professional help such as online
coaches or personal trainers to do this for you, or use the internet to search for workout
routines which are simple to follow and don’t need a load of equipment.


5. Enjoy the great outdoors – we are still allowed to head outside, so make the most of it,
jogs and bike rides (especially in the daylight) will do your mental wellbeing a world of


6. Get others involved – join online exercise classes or create your own with friends and
family. This will increase your social interaction and also keep you accountable!


The Daily Express featured some of these thoughts in a recent article called ‘Mental health tips during lockdown: How to cope with no access to sports or gyms – experts’. You can find it here.