British people are placing greater emphasis on health and exercise since the Covid-19 pandemic, but as gyms remain closed for the foreseeable future, almost half of British adults are still exercising more than they were before social distancing measures were introduced.

A survey of more than 7,600 UK adults published by Decathlon in the Decathlon Activity Index, revealed almost half (42 per cent) of British adults are exercising more than they were prior to when social distancing measures were introduced. What’s more, some 52 per cent of those plan to keep this up as the rules are eased.

A further 35 per cent say they are also now more anxious to look after their health than before the pandemic hit.

This has led to a surge in the number of people participating in different kinds of sports – running, cycling and yoga have all increased in popularity since the virus took hold.

Outdoor appeal

While for a small number, it has simply been a case of using exercise as an excuse to get outside (26 per cent) while social distancing measures have been in place, this newfound appetite could also be a result of many having fallen in love with the numerous benefits of exercise during lockdown.

More than 25 per cent said they have found exercising more enjoyable over the past couple of months, while 31 per cent said that working out has helped to improve their mental health.

Joshua Gutteridge, sports manager at Decathlon comments: ‘Exercise is a great way to alleviate stress, clear your mind, and helps you to feel both physically and mentally strong – as many have discovered over these past few months. It’s great that so many people are planning to exercise regularly and maintain their fitness routine after social distancing measured are eased. Finding the time to exercise regularly is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Adapting your fitness routine

‘It’s all about finding a fitness routine which works for you, and one that can be easily adapted into your lifestyle, no matter what the situation. As coronavirus restrictions are eased, it is important to try and hold onto the healthier routines that many have developed.”

The Decathlon Activity Index tracks rates of participation in sport and other physical activities across the year through a national survey repeated every month throughout the year. To view the Decathlon Activity Index, visit