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How Did Lockdown Affect The UK’s Health? Survey Results Revealed | What We Can Learn In Australia?

How Did Lockdown Affect The UK’s Health? Survey Results Revealed | What We Can Learn In Australia?
Josh Hunt
Writer3 years ago
View Josh Hunt's profile

There’s no escaping the fact that life has changed dramatically over the past couple of months. So, Myprotein decided to research how our health habits changed during lockdown. 

We commissioned a YouGov survey of over 2,800 Brits, looking into whether people exercised more, were more healthy, and what concerned people the most.

Here’s what we found:

  • Nearly ⅔ of Brits experienced some change to their eating habits.
  • 56% of Brits reported a concern with their health.
  • 18-34 year olds most affected in their sleep.

Nearly 6 Million Extra Brits Exercised Daily

Many of us did have far more free time than we’re used to, so it’s no surprise that Brits exercised more. Over a third claimed to be exercising at least once a day, with some actually adding in more workouts weekly. 

That was an increase of nearly 6 million extra Brits exercising daily. We also showed a huge demand for online workouts, the term ‘workout’ saw a 239% increase in Google searches from April 2019 to April 2020.

The graphs below show how often Brits exercised pre- and post-lockdown. There was a clear shift to daily exercise, with the low workout frequency declining.

Missing The Gym? You’re Not Alone…

When gyms shut nationwide and you suffered from the gym blues, we feel you. 73% of gym-goers missed at least one thing about the gym, whether that be the workout equipment, socialising with friends, or attending gym classes. 

However, there are ways to keep on top of your health at home and many of us searched for alternatives online. In fact, over half of gym-goers used tech to keep spirits and motivation up. 

With that motivation, you might have thought about what you can work out with. As it turns out, we can get pretty creative when it comes to our workouts, but we still occasionally like to rely on the old faithful dumbbells.

In fact, 1 in 10 British gym-goers admitted to using ordinary household items to help them workout. While nearly a third own dumbbells or are even lucky enough to have their own cardio machine.

London Most Stressed About Health

Many of us were concerned during lockdown, especially with our health. 56% of Brits reported at least one health concern, with our diet suffering being the top worry. The next two major health concerns come as no shock for fitness enthusiasts, losing strength and losing cardio ability. Surprisingly, the older you are, the more likely you were to not be concerned with your health. 

Myprotein nutritionist, Jennifer Blow, adds: 'Being concerned about your diet is completely natural. When we're bored or stressed, people often find themselves reaching for snacks (rather than making something fresh and nutritious). People can use their time to learn how to cook a new dish or get into batch-cooking, so you’re never left wondering what the next meal is and snacking on the first thing you see. Know your cravings and plan your shopping around healthier ingredients and snacks - particularly those that are high in protein or fibre that will keep you feeling fuller for longer, such as nuts, eggs, beans and other pulses.'

Let’s break it down a little into regions. Our top worrier was London — nearly ⅔ of Londoners had a concern — while the North West, East Midlands, and Yorkshire and the Humber were the most relaxed regions in England, as 54% had a concern. The least concerned UK nation was Wales, where only 53% had at least one health concern.

The heat map below highlights which regions were most concerned with their health. It appears the more southern you go, the more likely people were to report a health concern.

Younger Generations Reported Worse Sleep Quality 

Moving on to sleeping habits, nearly ⅔ of Brits reported a change in their usual sleeping patterns during lockdown, with over half claiming a negative impact. Not getting enough sleep can have a detrimental effect on your health — besides just feeling exhausted. If you found yourself to be one of those people, a weekly workout could prove beneficial as those who exercised more frequently reported better sleep quality. 

Splitting the population into age groups, the older generations were more likely to say they experienced no changes to their sleeping habits. Those aged 55 or older came second in saying their sleeping quality was better post-lockdown, with only 22% saying the opposite — the least that any age group reported.

If you’re a Gen Z’er or a Millennial, you were more likely to report spending less time in the hay and having worse quality sleep. 25% of 25 to 34-year-olds reported getting less sleep, and 39% reported getting worse quality sleep.

1 in 10 Brits Took More Immune System Support Supplements

When it comes to supporting our immune health, over 1 in 10 Brits took more supplements during lockdown than pre-lockdown to keep their immune system in top condition. Delving deeper into this, 1 in 25 took much more than they used to. This comes at no surprise as the majority of us reported a concern for our health and wellbeing. 

With London the most stressed about their health, it also makes sense that the capital saw the biggest increase in taking immune support supplements. Nearly 1 in 5 Londoners reported taking more than they used to, closely followed by the North East where every 4 in 25 people reported taking more supplements than they used to.

Take Home Message 

Did you see any changes like this to your health? The lockdown affected many of us in different ways, whether that was getting a sufficient amount of sleep, exercising frequently, or ensuring you were on top of your recommended vitamin daily dose. One thing’s for certain, looking after our own health has never been so important.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2843 adults, of which 2766 were GB adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th ‐ 21st April 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Josh Hunt
View Josh Hunt's profile
Josh has been involved in sports since a young age. Josh has a passion for football, playing for his local team from the age of 6 years old. He has recently used this passion to help motivate himself to create his own football club, specifically for him and his co-workers. Throughout the years he has developed an interest in boxing and MMA, which he loves to watch regularly.