Ac­tiv­ity lev­els drop as lock­down re­stric­tions ease

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Tom Mor­gan SPORTS NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Lock­down ex­er­cise rou­tines are be­ing aban­doned as re­stric­tions ease, ac­cord­ing to Sport Eng­land re­search, which says keep­ing fit will be crit­i­cal to the coun­try’s morale dur­ing the “new nor­mal”.

Dur­ing the height of the pan­demic, 46 per cent of the pub­lic felt “en­cour­aged to ex­er­cise” by gov­ern­ment guid­ance but, since re­stric­tions loos­ened, “nearly a third” said it was a chal­lenge to main­tain their ac­tiv­ity lev­els.

Ac­tiv­ity lev­els were at a record high be­fore Covid-19, with 28.6mil­lion adults do­ing at least 150 min­utes of mod­er­ate in­ten­sity phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity a week, Sport Eng­land said.

Dur­ing lock­down, run­ning and cy­cling were the most pop­u­lar ways to keep ac­tive, with 62 per cent in­tend­ing to keep up their rou­tines as re­stric­tions ease. How­ever, Sport Eng­land has recog­nised that more pres­sures on time are mak­ing it harder to be ac­tive.

Lisa O’Keefe, di­rec­tor of in­sight for Sport Eng­land, said: “We have a real op­por­tu­nity as we be­gin to emerge from lock­down into a new nor­mal to build on the good habits peo­ple have cre­ated, in­clud­ing how they have been able to pri­ori­tise their health by be­ing ac­tive dur­ing the pan­demic. It will be a chal­lenge as re­stric­tions ease and we move closer to a new nor­mal.

“The so­cial and eco­nomic im­pact that coro­n­avirus is hav­ing has also meant that some parts of so­ci­ety are be­ing af­fected more than oth­ers, and it is dis­ap­point­ing to see that some peo­ple found it hard to build ac­tiv­ity into their day dur­ing lock­down. We al­ways work hard to reach th­ese peo­ple, and our fo­cus will con­tinue to be get­ting ev­ery­one back to play­ing sport and en­joy­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity safely.”

Home ex­er­cise rou­tines are likely to be the most com­mon form of keep­ing fit for months. Gyms and leisure cen­tres re­cently opened a se­ries of “show­room sites” to try to con­vince pub­lic health agen­cies they are safe to re­open this sum­mer, af­ter a pro­posed July 4 date was blocked by the Gov­ern­ment.

With a pro­jected £2 bil­lion “so­cial cost” in main­tain­ing re­stric­tions on gyms un­til Oc­to­ber, the sec­tor had al­ready pub­lished de­tailed pro­pos­als that, with gov­ern­ment ap­proval, would have al­lowed fa­cil­i­ties to re­open, and there was dis­ap­point­ment at the de­ci­sion.

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