Exercise aids anxiety & depression under lockdown

This Mental Health Awareness Week (18th - 24th May 2020), research shows that 38% of British people exercise regularly to improve mood and relieve stress.

The study, conducted by health club Total Fitness, revealed that women are leading the charge in exercising for mental health, with as many as 45% claiming to exercise on a regular basis to enjoy its mood-boosting benefits. One in four people (27%) are using exercise to take a moment for themselves, whilst 35% of young adults said that they find regular exercise helps them to be more mindful and in turn reduces anxiety.

Walking is the preferred form of exercise, according to the research, with 94% of adults going for regular walks, averaging just over two hours per week. Sixty per cent of men and 31% of women have been heading out for a run at least once a week, followed by cycling a favourite of 51% of men and 30% of women.

Total Fitness' study comes after research by the University of Sheffield and Ulster University found that the day after the UK lockdown was announced, 38% of Brits said they were suffering from depression and 36% claimed to be struggling with anxiety.

Commenting on the findings, Steven Virtue, Fitness Content and Programming Manager at Total Fitness, says: 

“It's a difficult and strange time for us all but it's hugely uplifting to see that people are enjoying the positive effects of exercise during this time. 

“There are huge benefits to be had from regular exercise, not only to physical health but to mental health too, as staying active is proven to release endorphins - the happy hormones - which can significantly reduce levels of stress and anxiety. 

“For anyone who is perhaps nervous to try something new or unsure of where to start, there are plenty of resources available online that can help them find an activity that's right for them - including advice articles, video classes and demonstrations.”