Persons exercising outside the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, on Monday 17 May 2021. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

The decision to ban outdoor exercise during the current State of Emergency came as a surprise to many people who exercise for health reasons, when Guardian Media visited the Ato Boldon Stadium on Monday May 17th.

The roadway between the stadium and the National Cricket Centre is popular and attracts hundreds of persons daily, with the majority coming out in the evening.

On Monday morning, a handful of persons were seen exercising outside the venue. Many said they were unaware of the regulations—that outdoor sporting activity and exercise are banned—and decided to leave immediately since the area has a regular police patrol.

One woman said she heard that there were restrictions during the SOE but was not sure that walking was prohibited. She said walking and other forms of exercise are needed to keep in shape to fight off infections.

Dexter Dennis, 54, said he was willing to abide by the law and advised others not to take any chances and go outside.

“I am a middle-aged person. I, like many others in my age group, suffer from various ailments that range from diabetes to heart disease, and exercise is how we keep fit,” Dennis told Guardian Media.

“Some people cannot afford exercise equipment at their home and some are constrained by space, so we go outdoors,” he explained.  

He added: “A lot of children are at home too, and they like all normal human beings would end up sitting in front the television and eating and putting on weight, which is unhealthy. So, we all must find some ways to exercise at home, both the elderly and the young.”