Brits have turned to exercise to help their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, a study shows.
More than a third of all adults have exercised more in the past year than before, while almost half say they have kept active as a coping mechanism to preserve their mental wellbeing throughout the crisis. And while the majority of Brits say they work out to improve their body fitness and keep the weight off, almost as many now do it to keep their mind fit, according to research from active nutrition brand bulk.
Almost half say they plan to continue exercising more this year as the country still feels the effects of lockdown because an astounding 76% say it has a positive effect on their mental health and makes them happier people.
Before the first national lockdown in March, only 63% of exercising Brits saw improved mental health as a core benefit of exercise. That number has now risen to 72% and over half of Brits are now more likely to exercise for their mental health and wellbeing than they have in the past. Looking back at the lockdowns, 54% of Brits now say that the lockdowns have made them think more positively about exercising.
bulk – the sports and active nutrition brand – commissioned the research to explore how 2020 has impacted the nation’s views on health and nutrition, and to mark its rebrand from Bulk Powders to bulk. The rebrand sees bulk consolidate its range of products to make them easier to shop, as well as drop “Powders” from its name, to help broaden consumer appeal.
Fat loss and keeping trim are no longer the top motivations for exercising as the research from bulk reveals improving one’s physical health (43%), mental health and wellbeing (41%), to feel good about oneself (39%) and to relieve stress and anxiety (38%) are now top. This comes as no surprise as all exercise whether it’s a workout, run, walk or cycle is most likely to leave people feeling refreshed (45%), positive (45%), motivated (39%), and less stressed (37%).
Mind over matter, lockdown and having more time at home has also made Brits take the time to think about their actions too, 57% of Brits now make a conscious effort to check food packaging and nutrients in the food they eat and 59% of Brits took the time to prepare healthier foods.
The research from bulk found a massive 85% of those who exercise regularly say they now prefer doing it at home rather than at a gym and most of those won’t bother renewing their gym membership.
The bulk research also revealed 1 in 3 (34%) of us tried a new kind of exercise in 2020, with a third (33%) taking up running, and 1 in 5 trying a fitness YouTube class, such as Joe Wicks – showing a real embracement of at-home and online exercise.
Now when it comes to age and gender, Women are more likely to exercise with the motivation to improve their mental health and wellbeing over fat loss (43% vs 38% of men). 35-44s are the most likely to have used exercise as a coping mechanism during the pandemic (54% vs a national average of 46%) and millennials are the category that exercises for their mental health and wellbeing (72% vs a national average of 59%).
Ref: Wales Online