Exercising safely

Suggestions and ideas about how you can exercise safely and be safe doing other recreational activities.

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Exercise at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2, you can do your usual sport and recreation activities if you can do them safely. But if you’re sick, stay home. 

When exercising in public, keep a 2 metre distance from people you don’t know if possible.

You can do activities that were restricted previously, including:

  • walking, biking and hunting on public conservation land
  • swimming at a public swimming pool, but there will be restrictions
  • going to the gym, but there will be restrictions
  • community sports, but there will be restrictions
  • boating and motorised watersports
  • hunting during duck shooting season.

Community sports

Community sports are limited to groups of 100 in a defined space. A sports field can have multiple defined spaces by keeping:

  • people in groups of up to 100
  • groups separate either through consistent 2 metre physical distancing (when outdoors) or barriers.

Groups should be prevented from intermingling or sharing common facilities at the same time.

For example, a game of rugby can occur so long as there are no more than 100 people on the field. If that field has a stand on either side, up to 100 people can gather in each stand if they are kept separate from those from the other stand and from players and umpires on the field.

Organisers and the person in control of the premises are responsible for collecting contact tracing information.

More information on gatherings, events, and defined spaces

Guidelines from Sport New Zealand (external link)

Exercise at Alert Level 3

Exercise and recreation is an important part of maintaining our health and wellbeing. However, there's a very high risk of transmission if we come into contact with others, touch common equipment or surfaces, or need rescuing or medical care.

We need to keep doing our bit so that our gains in Alert Level 4 aren’t compromised.

You can do activities that are local, safe, and don't involve interaction with other people outside your bubble.

The most important thing is to stay safe. Do low-risk activities, so you don’t need rescuing or medical care. You should also keep a 2 metre distance from people who aren’t in your bubble.

You can do more activities at Alert Level 3 but only if you’re experienced and do them safely. These include:

  • surfing — if you're an experienced surfer, you can go to your local break. If you’re not experienced, don’t surf
  • fishing — if you want to go fishing you can do so from a wharf or the shore, but don’t cast off the rocks or fish from a boat. Boating isn't allowed
  • tramping — is okay for day walks on easy trails. Remember to keep your distance from other people
  • mountain biking — if you're experienced and know the trail
  • hunting — you can hunt on private land, but not on public conservation land. You need to stay within your region and stick to your bubble. Overnight trips are not allowed. You may only hunt on foot — using quad bikes, off-road bikes, helicopters and other motorised vehicles isn't allowed
  • swimming — in safe local spots. Don’t take risks that might mean rescue services have to break their bubble to help you
  • horse riding — if you're an experienced rider and it's low risk. Stay as close to home as you can.

Boating, yachting and any team sports or training are not allowed.

Now isn't the time to take up new activities, or expose yourself or your bubble to any risk. Use your common sense — stay local, stay safe. 

Where you can exercise

Stick to your local area. For example, go to your nearest beach or park, not your favourite one. Staying overnight at a bach or holiday home isn't permitted.

You should drive as short a distance as you can and still do the activity.

If you live on a regional boundary, this might mean travelling to a neighbouring region. This is fine as long as it’s still local and a close distance from your home.

Find detailed information about sport and recreation under each Alert Level on the Sport New Zealand website (external link)

Exercise at Alert Level 4

Stick to simple outdoor exercise, and avoid activities where you can get injured or lost. For example, don’t go swimming, surfing, boating, hunting or tramping. It’s important the emergency services remain available to support the response to COVID-19. 

Walks and other activities like cycling or scootering are fine, provided you keep a 2 metre distance from anybody outside of your household. Don’t use services like share-bikes or hire scooters.

Whenever you're out and about be extremely careful of “high touch items” like handrails, gates and park benches. Avoid touching these and if you can’t avoid it, wash or sanitise your hands before touching your face or eating.

Make sure you:

  • don’t meet people who are not in your bubble to go for a walk or to the park, or do any other non-essential activity
  • tell someone in your bubble where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone for. Take a mobile phone with you so you can be contacted or contact others if you need to.

Thoroughly wash your hands when you return home.

Where you should exercise

Stay close to home. Enjoy your neighbourhood, but go no further. For example, if you live near a beach, you may go for a walk down to the waterfront. But don’t drive to another suburb to go to the beach. If you have a dog, try walking it around the block instead of driving with it to a park.

You can walk to a local park but you need to keep your distance from others who may also be there.

Staying local

“Local” means the area near your home that you regularly visit for essential services. City dwellers may have a supermarket, pharmacy or dairy close by. If you live rurally, you may need to drive further.

If you do leave your house, you must always keep a 2 metre distance from other people who are not part of your household. If an area is too crowded to keep to a 2 metre space between you and others, go home. Don’t stop and chat, smile and wave instead.

Exercising at home

You can do outdoor activities with your household in your backyard, like backyard soccer or cricket. Be careful your ball doesn’t go into the neighbour’s house as they won’t be able to touch it or return it.

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