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New exercise habits forming during coronavirus crisis

Almost two thirds of adults consider exercise to be more important than ever during the current coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. Sport England research commissioned from Savanta ComRes shows the impact social distancing and guidance to stay home is having on the nation’s attitude to exercise.

Carried out earlier this month, after the government announced its social distancing guidelines, the new figures show 63% of adults in England say it’s more important to be active now, compared to before coronavirus. The majority of people (67%) also believe exercise is helping them with their mental health during the outbreak.

While the majority are realising the importance of exercise to their health, the research also shows that some people are finding it harder to be regularly active than others – including older people, those on a low income, those living alone and those in urban areas.

  • Age: Younger groups are more likely to have done more activity in the past week
  • Social background: People in higher socio-economic groups are more likely to have done more activity in the past week than those in lower socio-economic groups
  • Living alone: People who live with others are more likely to have done more activity in the past week than people who live alone
  • Urban vs rural areas: People in urban areas are more likely to have done less activity in the past week than people in rural areas

The restrictions on movement have led to new habits forming, with walking, cycling and home workouts now the most popular forms of exercise. Walking tops the standings with 59% of adults using their daily activity to go for a walk, while 25% of people are doing home fitness workouts and 18% are using informal play and games to keep active.

Cycling is also proving to be a popular family activity, with 22% of those who are cycling, doing so with children in their household. While 37% of those doing home-based fitness online are doing it with the children in their household.