Pent up Brits are ready to dust off their trainers and get fit, with more than 34 million vowing to improve their health. Over 70 per cent say that the pandemic has made them more aware of their wellbeing, while two-thirds agree they’re now focused on improving their overall health.
The study also found that half of adults have made a conscious effort to be more active, while a quarter have recently started a new diet or exercise regime.
Dr Arun Thiyagarajan, Medical Director at Bupa Health Clinics explains: ‘Recent months have had an impact on people’s health. ‘Whether from comfort eating, missing the gym or enjoying an extra glass of wine, lots of us are now feeling the effects of lockdown.’
Commissioned by Bupa Health Clinics, the study also revealed the most common health issues that Brits faced during lockdown – driving many to take action.
Trouble sleeping was top of the list, affecting 35 per cent of people, while 23 per cent said they struggled to follow a healthy diet. Elsewhere, 16 per cent admitted to drinking more frequently during the lockdown, while high blood pressure and stress were also on the list.
A recent Public Health drive to curb obesity rates is also thought to be encouraging Brits to make changes – particularly in light of the pandemic.
Currently, two-thirds of adults in the UK are obese, putting them at higher risk of chronic issues, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Recent data has also shown that obese people have a higher chance of becoming seriously ill if they contract COVID-19.
Dr Thiyagarajan continues: ‘Public attitudes towards health are changing for the better. Within our clinics, we’re seeing a change in the type of people who are coming in. The pandemic is making people appreciate the value of their health, so it’s no wonder that Brits are looking to take control of their fitness again.
‘Previously patients came with specific concerns, but now we’re seeing more people without any symptoms, instead seeking a health assessment to help stay on top of their health.’
Despite good intentions, the reality of keeping resolutions is challenging. Eight in ten people admit they found it hard to stick to them, with half saying they lacked the drive to maintain it.
To support those looking to make lasting changes, Dr Thiyagarajan has shared his top tips on how to keep motivation and make sustained improvements to your health.
Create a routine
Whether you’re working from home or back in the office, making sure you have a routine in place is incredibly important to making positive changes to your lifestyle. Having a routine in place can promote a healthy diet and cut the snacking. Make sure exercise is part of that routine. It can be harder to find the motivation during the darker, colder months but having a routine can help encourage you out the door.
If you’re finding it difficult to kick start an exercise regime, why not try something new. Set yourself a challenge and try to stick to it, whether this is taking up running and aiming to run 5k by the end of the year or cycle a certain distance.
Get enough sleep
Try to get seven to eight hours per night to feel refreshed and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re lacking motivation, try working out with friends virtually. Why not synchronise your workouts and inject some healthy competition into your exercise regime. Alternatively, if you’re doing home workouts, try video calling a friend and do the same workout together.
Go at your own pace
Lockdown has not only impacted us physically but mentally too. If you’re feeling anxious, don’t feel pressured to do too much. Go at your own pace and do what you feel comfortable with.