Three quarters of people have started a new form of exercise since this time last year

It’s no secret a lot of us hit a bit of a lazy point there back in January and February. The weather was miserable, it was dark and a lot of us were blindsided by a third hard lockdown. Now that the days are getting brighter and longer we all have a bit more energy and get up and go in us again. That means back to the exercises and workouts we all started back in lockdown one!

A British report released at the end of 2020 found that 76% of people had taken up at least one new form of exercise since lockdown began. The most popular one was walking, with 30% making this a major part of their lockdown lifestyle, followed by jogging, yoga, HIIT, running, home treadmill, weights and outdoor cycling. We are an active lot!

Photo of Woman Wearing Pair of Black Nike Running Shoes

For many of us, exercise has become a coping mechanism, a way to feel more energetic and possibly even distracted from the turn our live have taken since the pandemic hit this time last year. But what started as a lockdown hobby seems set to become a permanent fixture for a lot of us, with 81% of us saying we will try to continue with our new exercise regime once life returns to a ‘new normal’.

This can be linked to the fact that 75% of us believe that our new exercise regime has helped us to cope better mentally with the disruptive impact of lockdown to our regular routine of friends and work and travel. With our minds more cluttered with worries about health, family, finance, employment and uncertainty than ever, exercise has become a welcome way to let off steam for most.

And while home workouts have seen a surge in popularity the last while with 45% of people keeping active in the comfort of their living room, returning to the gym was listed as one of the things people were looking forward to most once restrictions life a little. 37% of us are getting the family involved, with cycling and home workouts being the most popular shared activities, although a good 10% of us have been laughed at for our home workout attemots by family!

Photo of Girl Hugging Her Mom While Doing Yoga Pose

However, there are still over a third of us at 36% who believe our mental health has got worse since the start of the lockdown, and it’s affecting the 18-24 age group the most. 55% of them feel their mental health has worsened. However, at least half of this age group also fail to get more than 2 hours of exercise a week. This means they are not in compliance with the NHS guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise a week for adults aged 19-64. The link between the two can’t be ignored.

On the other side of things, we’re seeing the over 65s, 47% of whom are getting over 3 hours exercise a week, and a small 17% of them report feeling their mental health has suffered.

Have your exercise habits changed since lockdown? How will we see these changes impacting into the future of our exercise routines? Are gyms a ting of the past or will people miss the social element of them? Reports seem to suggest that more of us are working out at home than have ever joined a gym, so who knows what the future of exercise looks like!

Photography of Woman in Pink Tank Top Stretching Arm

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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