The biggest positives to come out of lockdown in the UK was spreading time with the family (42%), not having to commute everyday (27%) and having more time to spend on hobbies (26%).
This is off the back of research conducted by Cyclescheme, part of Blackhawk Network, looking into the positives of lockdown. This included how it has impacted mental health and hobbies, ahead of today’s annual Cycle to Work Day. The research also found that in regards to hobbies, two fifths (43%) of respondents have spent more time cooking since lockdown, climbing to over half in women (51%), and another two fifths (41%) have spent more time walking. 21% of people have also drunk less alcohol during lockdown, with 24% of men saying that they have drunk less alcohol compared to 18% of women.
Many people also picked up old hobbies that they wouldn’t have restarted if it wasn’t for lockdown. Cycling topped the resurgence charts (83%) along with reading (83%) and yoga (79%). 17% of those who have started riding a bike would never have done so if it wasn’t for lockdown and three quarters of those who have cycled more since lockdown will continue to do so afterwards (77%).
The research also found that, as a result of lockdown, 20% of people stated they have been able to focus on their mental health more and 10% of respondents have learnt to meditate during lockdown.
However, there are concerns about making these positive changes stick. 45% of people cited that having less spare time and 26% believe the commute to work will both negatively impact the chance of these positive changes continuing post lockdown. As a result, the nation is asking employers to help overcome these barriers by offering more flexible working with 50% of employees seeing flexibility as a key focus when returning to the new normal.
Other key stats from the research:
- 12% of people also now plan to use cycling as a means of transport to and from work which is in line with government recommendations to help get people back to work post-COVID. This shows that lockdown is likely to have a lasting impact on the UK’s behaviour
- 17% of people have been cycling in order to improve their mental health during the strict lockdown
- Going forward, two in five would like to see more of a focus on employee mental health in the workplace.
- 24% of people wouldn’t have started an exercise regime if it wasn’t for lockdown
Adrian Warren, Director at Cyclescheme and Chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance said, “As many lockdown measures are easing, it’s fantastic to see that as a nation we want to continue the good habits we’ve picked up. Whether it’s cycling or walking the longer term impact of lockdown will have a positive influence on everything from the environment to our fitness levels.
“The challenge will be ensuring those changes stick but through making small changes where possible, for example, cycling to work or taking better care of our health, we can all ensure we make these positive habits a permanent fixture in our lives”
Kadeena Cox, ParalympicsGB Cyclist and Double Paralympic gold medallist said, “Cycling isn’t just great from an exercise point of view but it also has huge benefits on mental health, so it’s brilliant that so many people are getting into it. Lockdown has been tough, but to think that people of all ages have tried new things and developed new hobbies such as cycling or yoga is really inspiring.”
Robbie George, British Cycling Education Manager added, “It’s been amazing to see so many families discovering the joy of getting out and riding together over the past few months, and enjoying all of the physical and mental health benefits which come with it.
“The challenge now is to make those good habits stick, and through our free resources and the additional support announced by the Government last week, we’re really optimistic that many of those old bikes will be staying out of the shed for good.”