Forget the January health kick, quarantine is the push Brits needed to get moving

The gist

  • Almost three-quarters of the country are getting out and about
  • 59% use their once-a-day exercise time to get away from housemates, family or screaming kids
  • Walking is our favourite quarantine exercise
  • Over a quarter of the population are not exercising at all

January is traditionally the time of year to get up off the sofa, put the old gym kit back on, and wheeze-cough your way through a 5k run. The only problem is that in January, the pubs and restaurants are still open. So instead of becoming the next Jessica Ennis-Hill, it's oh-s0-tempting to fall back into that pre-Christmas drinking and eating.

At Quidco, we wanted to find out what people have been up to since the country's gone into lockdown. To our delight, it transpired that the people of the UK have a newfound love of exercise. Having the pubs, bars, restaurants and cinemas shut down, it turns out, is the push Brits needed to get out exercising.

Out with the in and in with the out

We found that it's not so much the lack of other options that inspired people to take up long walks, jogs or cycles. It was more that exercise provides a good excuse to get outside. Of the 2,000 Brits we polled, 62% of them said they were actively seeking exercise just so they can go outside.

Out of the types of exercise that it's possible to do during a quarantine — walking, dog-walking, running, cycling, callisthenics — strolling turned out to be the country's favourite hobby. 24% said they've been for a leisurely stroll since being quarantined.

Why the big hike in hikes?

Is it that the people of the UK are using this opportunity to boost their fitness?

Yes, partly. The British people's new appetite for exercise is clear from the 17 million viewers who were drawn to Joe Wicks' YouTube PE lesson and the 3.7m Instagram posts now tagged with #homeworkout and #homeworkouts.

It’s spreading further across the celeb scene too. You can now make yourself world champion material by joining boxing champ Tyson Fury and his family for a front room workout every morning live on Instagram.

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A new nation-wide desire to get fit is only part of the story, we found. There's a whole other side to it.

You, me and quarantine

As social distancing is taking its toll, many are starting to become irritated with their quarantine companions. This has been evident from the rise of divorces in countries around the world.

China was the first to implement these quarantine measures and some families have spent over two months snugly in each others’ company. Reports coming out of central China are showing recording-breaking numbers of divorce filings with government office staff working so hard they haven’t had time to drink water!

It's not surprising then, that 59% of us said that we’re using outside exercise as an excuse to get away from husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, families and housemates. It’s nothing personal (maybe it is), it’s just part of being human. Everyone needs that bit of alone time, so if exercise is your only ticket to getting out of the house, you might as well use it.