As Brits emerge from lockdown, a sense of panic is felt among many who feel they need to look more fit and toned than before, with Instagram and Facebook named the main reason for anxiety according to research.

Research by home exercise app,, has discovered that two-thirds (63 per cent) of 18-24-year-olds admitted to feeling pressure to work out more during lockdown. Social media was blamed as the reason why they felt this pressure, with 58 per cent of this age group citing Facebook and Instagram as the direct cause. This is twice the number of those twice their age – 30 per cent of 35-44 year olds feel the social media strain.

Putting on weight during lockdown was also a key motivation for exercise, with 38 per cent of 18-24 year olds saying this was an issue for them. Pressure to look good when they do return to the office is also noted as a concern, with 29 per cent stating they wanted to look their best when they get back to work.

Make exercise fun

Catriona Forrest, co-founder of the Eastnine home fitness app says: ‘Of all the things for us to feel pressured about during the pandemic – exercise shouldn’t be one of them. Working out is good for your mental health and your physical health, but if you’re putting pressure on yourself to keep up with influencers or friends and family – you’re not going to enjoy yourself. Find a fun, safe way to exercise that fits in with your life and your routine, and you will see results.’

A quarter of British people said they found it cringeworthy when people shared their workouts on social media, despite almost the same amount of people (22 per cent) saying they had taken part in workouts hosted on social media via Instagram Live. One in 20 have watched workouts but don’t join in.

Sweaty exercise selfies

Men are more likely to post their sweaty selfies on social media with a quarter admitting to this, compared to 14 per cent of women. Women also admitted to feeling more pressure to exercise due to gaining weight and feeling unhealthy during lockdown – with 37 per cent of women agreeing to this statement, compared to 29 per cent of men.

Catriona Forrest continues: ‘Working out from home is here to stay, with just one in 10 of us comfortable with heading back to the gym as soon as they reopen. Find what works for you and enables you to create a routine, be part of something, complete with cheerleaders to encourage you.’