The hoards of joggers have been hard to ignore during the coronavirus lockdown. When social distancing restrictions were at their strictest, people jumped at the chance to take their one allotted bout of daily exercise.
With so few opportunities to get outside, running for many of us became a way to stay sane amid all the chaos. The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have long been championed so it’s an obvious outlet.
It appears Britons were not alone in finding new widespread enthusiasm for keeping fit, as a recent study of 14,000 people across 12 different countries found that 36 per cent of participants are exercising more than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic, and that number was as high as 43 per cent in the UK.
And running seems to have been one of the most popular forms of exercise, as subscriptions to the fitness tracker app Runkeeper (which is owned by ASICS who led the study) had a whopping 667 per cent increase in registrations and a 105 per cent rise in monthly active users compared to the same period in 2019.
The data suggests that these efforts were having a positive effect on mental wellbeing, as 72 per cent of those involved said they felt “more sane and in control” as a result of being active during the pandemic. For those in the UK, 82 per cent said running is playing a key role in helping them clear their mind in these strange times.
A big question that remains unanswered, though, is will the same enthusiasm and commitment to keeping fit and active persist after the national situation returns to normal? Encouragingly, 72 per cent of the runners based in Britain said they do want to continue exercising when the pandemic comes to an end.
So perhaps the UK as a nation will place more importance on health and fitness.