New Studies Highlight Covid-19's Impact on Changing Fitness Habits

Edward Cooper
·3-min read
Photo credit: Antonio_Diaz - Getty Images
Photo credit: Antonio_Diaz - Getty Images

From Men's Health

2020 shook things up for a lot of us. Our cadence of everyday life — from commuting to grocery shopping and family occasions to exercising — was altered, almost indefinitely.

Almost a year since the novel coronavirus brought the UK to a grinding halt, new studies have begun to analyse the effect the fast-spreading respirator disease had on our lifestyle habits and, more specifically, our exercise. Unsurprisingly, the research below paints a difficult picture, with large swathes of the UK population eschewing indoor exercise and heading outdoors instead. Let's take a look.

RunRepeat, a review site focused on athletic shoes, analysed the impact of the pandemic on the fitness industry, with a specific steer on runners' habits. Asking active adults about their preferred way to stay fit, 59.1 per cent of survey participants found that exercise including running, hiking, walking and cycling was the best way to achieve their fitness goals.

What's more, a BMJ study explored how the pandemic, despite its unprecedented economic and societal destruction, may have led to the UK population increasing an active interest in and engagement with physical activity. The data in the study suggests that "despite challenges to an active lifestyle, the COVID-19 lockdown may have led to increases in population-level interest in and engagement with physical activity... Potential explanations for the relative increase in exercise interest include compensation for reduced incidental activities, availability of discretionary time, increased health awareness and ubiquitous messages recommending exercise during COVID-19 from media, governments and health authorities."

Similarly, a Sport England survey found that, despite 41 per cent of respondents reporting doing less physical activity than "pre-lockdown", 31 per cent reported doing more. Sport England also saw that 62 per cent of adults also considered that staying active is more important now than before the pandemic, and more than half reported being encouraged to exercise by the Government’s guidelines.

However, it's not all solemn news. Active adults — those exercising regularly — have been after expert help more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, with 47.5 per cent of people hiring personal trainers and nutritionists.

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it’s possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you’re in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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