During lockdown many people found it more difficult to get active and stay healthy, with restrictions on exercising outside, gyms closed and a reduced opportunity to get enough steps in every day.
In a survey conducted by Vitality, we found that the life expectancy of Brits had fallen by an average of 3.8 months due to a drop in physical activity which happened during the first few weeks of the COVID-19 UK lockdown. After looking at activity tracker data, the results show that people completed 28% fewer physical activity events including cardio sessions, daily step counts, and gym workouts.
Life expectancy is affected by many factors including behaviour, nutrition, illnesses and more, but physical activity is one of the key aspects that makes a difference. The data found that those who were fit and healthy before lockdown saw their life expectancy only falling by an average of 2.4 months. This shows just how important it is to prioritise living a healthy lifestyle.
So how can you establish healthy behaviours that will help you improve your life expectancy in the long-term? We asked Vitality Coach and Personal Trainer, Jonny Kibble, for some advice…
1) Keep up with the home workouts
Home workouts grew in popularity during lockdown as people tried to adapt their fitness routines. It’s a great idea to carry some of these new healthy habits into the new post lockdown phase maintaining your home workouts and building on these by introducing other forms of exercise. Why not try going out for a run, playing a socially distanced game of tennis with your friends or having a kick about in the park.
2) Make the most of your commute
There will be an emphasis placed on getting to work using alternative modes of transport such as bike or on foot due to fewer people wanting to travel on public transport. What better way to achieve your daily quota of exercise than combining it with your commute?
3) Get those steps in
General movement such as walking has greatly reduced during lockdown. As well as carrying on with any new home workout habits, try to get moving as much as possible now we can get out a little more. Adding in a brisk walk or two is a great way to increase your fitness without necessarily taking time out of your day.
4) Sleep well
With some of us possibly moving back to the office and moving back into an earlier start, it’s important to adapt your current sleep routine. Achieving enough good quality sleep will mean you’re better placed to make better healthy food choices, you’re more likely to exercise and generally feel on top of things.
5) Keep an eye on stress
Moving on from full lockdown is going to be a big change whether you realise it or not. It’s important to take time regularly to reflect on how you’re feeling and coping with this. Exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet will also help. Remember not to be too hard on yourself, this has been a potentially unsettling time for all of us.
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