Activity levels drop as lockdown restrictions ease
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.