Covid-19 and the changing geographies of exercise

This is a blog post I wrote with the brilliant Dr Sam Hayes (check out his blog here) for Geography Directions. In it we offer some initial thoughts about the changes Covid-19 has forced & invited to the taking place of exercise in the UK, and the critical politics of exercise it illuminates and exacerbates.

This is the first piece in a project I am doing with Sam about exercise during social distancing so looking forward to developing these ideas further.

I will also provide a long, long overdue update on, well everything, on this blog soon.

Geography Directions

By Simon Cook, Birmingham City University, & Sam Hayes, University of Salford

The lockdown and social distancing measures introduced in the UK since March 2020 have changed the way exercise happens in the UK. The closure of gyms, classes, pools, pitches and courts, the mass spatio-temporal restructuring of everyday lives, and the need to maintain social distancing have transformed the usual patterns of who, where and how people exercise. Some of these changes will be short-term but others hint towards longer-term changes and considerations, particularly regarding the inequalities and politics of exercise they illuminate.

Disruption often catalyses change and exercise routines have both been altered and forged anew since lockdown. The restrictions to normal exercise practices have seen homes become makeshift gyms, gardens become sports halls, and living rooms become host to virtual classes. Lockdown has also afforded possible opportunities for some to establish new exercise routines through…

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