The exercise app, Strava, studied the data of 25,000 runners from all over the world. The standout finding for me was that from the most experienced runners to the newest runners, less than 20% of people who had downloaded the app actually enjoy running.
Understanding this is potentially very significant for the general population, particularly in the midst of a global health pandemic.
Our intuition at this time is aligned with the study’s results. People are making exercise a part of their daily routine, with almost everybody now using the phrase ‘my daily exercise’. Not necessarily because they really enjoy it (although it’s brilliant if you do), but because we understand the benefits.
For some of us, these benefits simply include improved sleep and improved mental and physical health. For others, it’s also about being part of a community on WhatsApp or social media, where we can receive support and acknowledgment and feel connected to a network of friends. Exercise can also improve our sense of achievement and personal development.
With many people establishing daily and weekly exercise habits during the lockdown, both employers and employees – and indeed the whole of society – has a huge opportunity to change the working culture to include exercise and fitness.
As we move towards the easing of the lockdown and slowly back to the office with a ‘new normal’ daily working routine, will employers give their staff more freedom to exercise during the working day? And will employees take this opportunity to continue improving their health and wellbeing? The data is clear and unequivocal. People who exercise regularly are more productive at work, happier, and take fewer sick days.
Together, I believe we can use the Coronavirus pandemic as huge leverage for positive change.
Rob Grim – Revolution Personal Training Studios Director