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Deputy chief medical officer tells the public 'lockdown could be the best chance you have to get fit'

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 26/03/2020 Chris Slater
A runner © Getty A runner

One of the country's most senior health bosses has said the coronavirus lockdown might be the best opportunity people have ever had to get fit.

The entire country was this week ordered to remain indoors in a bid to halt the spread of the Covid-19 disease.

However one of the reasons people are permitted to leave their homes is for one period of exercise a day.

And the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries said today it may encourage people to take up regular physical exercise.

Asked about the impact of self-isolation at today's daily government press conference, Dr Harries said: “I personally, and many of my public health colleagues, have made it very clear that we recognise that there are potential mental heath risks as well.

“That we need to be looking after our bodies and our minds at the same time.

a person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera © Getty Images

“That particularly applies to our very high risk, vulnerable group, who we have asked to, almost, take themselves out of society for 12 weeks. That’s a really big ask.

"That's why in the letter that has gone out to them there are specific links and suggestions around mental health and mental health welfare.

“I might, actually though, put a more optimistic view as well, which is if people are not going out to work, and, often, that creates quite a stress in terms of travel time, they have more free time to themselves.

"And it might be the best opportunity the whole country has to say I'm going to use my one exercise session every day to ensure by the time this is over I am super fit and so is my family.

"In fact if you have something restricted it suddenly becomes quite a pleasurable event.

"So even if you may not have wished to jog along the street before, doing so now might actually be quite a relief and quite a positive thing for us all to do."

Yoga at home © Getty Yoga at home

As well as outdoor exercise there has also been a big boom in indoor exercise and people following online fitness videos in their living rooms.

Police today warned people's daily permitted outdoor exercise should be taken close to their home.

Officers in Derbyshire said scores of people were driving to the Peak District for walks but they said that that was not classed as essential travel under the government's guidance and said "travelling to remote areas of the Peak District or your exercise is not essential travel. Please stay at home and save lives."

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Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading - here is what you can and can't do. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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