People exercise in Madrid on Saturday morning after government relaxed lockdown.
People exercise in Madrid on Saturday morning after government relaxed lockdown.
PIC: AFP

Thousands of Spaniards woke up early on Saturday to exercise on the streets for the first time in seven weeks after the government ended a prohibition on outdoor exercise.

At 6 am early risers poured into the streets dressed in athletic gear to run, bike, and speed walk, with many taking extra caution to loosen up atrophied muscles and avoid a twisted ankle that would ruin the joy of release.

A few tried running with a face mask despite the difficulty it causes with breathing. The masks are highly recommended by Spanish health authorities for walkers and shoppers, to reduce the chance of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.

"I feel good, but tired. You sure notice that it has been a month and I am not in shape," 36-year-old Cristina Palomeque said in Barcelona after taking a break following a 20-minute jog. She had grown tired of following Zumba and yoga classes online.

"Some people think it may be too early (to go out), as I do, but it is also important to do exercise for health reasons,"

she said.

A brilliant sunny sky in Barcelona drew many to the maritime promenade to get as close as possible to the beach, which is still off-limits. People are supposed to respect a 1-meter distance, but the crowds in some spots made that impossible.

"We woke up very early so that we wouldn't find it too full of people, but . it's complicated," 37-year-old Eduardo Conte said after a run along the Mediterranean beachfront. "I feel a rush (being back outside), but you have to take it easy so we don't all end up with injuries." The scene was similar to that seen last weekend when Spain's children were let out for a walk with a parent for the first time in six weeks.

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