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Running and exercising when working from home

In recent weeks, running events, Park runs and running groups have all ceased as the nation works together to delay the spread of the coronavirus. Whilst this is a very necessary step, regular runners could miss the physical, mental and social benefits that running normally brings to their lives. So what can someone who is used to running regularly do to keep fit and maintain that sense of community during these challenging times?

Research has shown that exercise can reduce your risk of major long-term illnesses, boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy and reduce your risk of stress and depression ( As more and more of us our working from home, finding the motivation and time to be active is going to be increasingly important for both our physical and mental wellbeing.

Can I still go running?

When it comes to running specifically, research released by England Athletics in November 2017 revealed that improvements in emotional health and wellbeing were experienced by three-quarters of runners (

The Government Rules that came into effect on the 23 March do permit individuals to leave the house for one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of their household ( The situation is changing rapidly but, for the moment, there is still scope to out running! However, you will need to adapt when, where, how far and how often you run, as well as the intensity.

Although running can boost the immune system, too much training or intensity could have a temporary or short-term negative impact. So if you do run outside, it is not the time to be pushing hard for a new PB or trying to run a significant daily or weekly mileage. Instead, maybe focus on using the time to get some fresh air, switch off your brain and enjoy being outdoors!

To protect yourself and others, it is important to find an uncrowded route that you can navigate safely whilst maintaining social distancing rules. When running alone you should also make sure that someone knows the route that you are taking and how long you expect to be. Taking your mobile phone with you is also important just in case you need help. If you feel unwell or are self-isolating then you should not go out running but should follow government guidance to protect yourself and others (

Missing your Running Group?

A survey of the RunTogether community found 89% of runners reported increased happiness as a direct result of running with others in a group ( So for those that are missing their running groups, how can you maintain the social connection that running may have brought?

Over the last year, the Sports Service has been training Run Leaders to set up their own staff running groups across the University. In 2020, there were seven such groups operating from the Old Schools through to Madingley Hall. Whilst it is now not possible to physically get together, the Sports Service has set up a Strava Group for any member of staff that would like to be part of a University staff running community. You don’t have to be an existing member of a University running group to join or have a GPS watch either, you just need a smartphone!

Events will be set up through Strava at the normal running group times so people can still go out at the same time but from their various different locations. If childcare or work responsibilities mean that you can’t run at that time, then you can still join Strava and log your runs whenever you go! There will be links to running resources and members can upload images of their running routes as well as support and encourage other university colleagues but don’t forget, it’s a strictly a work free zone! If you want to find out how to join the group email:

There are also some good online running communities out there on social media if you want to connect with other runners from across the UK. There are a few examples below:

What about other exercise and keeping the family active?

For many of us, we also have partners and children at home to motivate and keep moving! You could go for a run or bike ride together or look at some family activities to do at home in between running days. The Sports Service are posting articles over the coming weeks with links to online fitness videos for adults and families, as well as some more in-depth discussion pieces on the principles of fitness training. Having completed the Joe Wicks PE session this morning with my daughter, I can say that it was good family fun and I may need a lie down later! As with any exercise programme, please be aware of your level of fitness, your current health and energy levels. Build up gradually from beginner level and make sure you drink plenty of water!

To find out more about activities you can do at home and see our regular sport and exercise features, visit:

Karen Pearce – 27 March 2020


Government Website – Coronavirus:

NHS – Benefits of Exercise:

NHS – Running for Beginners:

Run Together Research:

Sports Service – Exercise to do at home: