Nursery Blog

The Golden Age of Fitness

It was mid-May and every time I looked out of the window for my 4pm daze he’d be at it again. Using my front wall as a prop to practice his press ups, checking his form in a car window - a patch of pavement on a quiet side street had become this man’s exercise oasis.

It wasn’t just my new friend; lockdown liberated the masses to start or try new forms of exercise. Local parks transformed into running motorways with the running app Strava reporting a record 3.4 million downloads in May. Joe Wicks was on hand to help out too, and broke the Guinness world record for the most streamed online workout.  

We were finally free from the shackles that stopped us from exercising - gifted with time, free fitness classes, and nobody watching us to see if we were the ‘least fit’ person in the room. In fact, exercise was the only thing allowed!

According to a recent Sport England survey, we were feeling the benefits too with 63% of UK adults claiming that exercise during the outbreak helped their mental health. Similarly, 70% found it helped their physical health.

Now Joe has put away his camera, and on the 25th July the baton was passed back to the thousands of gyms across the country to keep this momentum going.

However, gyms can’t just return to the pre-lockdown model of exercise, apply post-lockdown rules and expect socially distanced crowds to come flocking. New rules and regulations amplify barriers to exercise - advanced bookings aren’t flexible, temperature guns aren’t friendly, indoor classes fuel anxiety about transmission and reduced class numbers waive your right to anonymity.

Whilst gyms and studio timetables were put on pause during lockdown, the fitness industry wasn’t. Therefore, it is vital that fitness brands understand exercise behaviours and attitudes during this time. That way they can adapt their proposition and motivate people to stay active.

Who knows – maybe there’s an opportunity in pavement press ups?

Jane Passey

Research Manager

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