A False Sense of Fitness


Thoughts Piece

That more people are exercising more frequently during lockdown is clear (59% of those who exercised once a week or less prior to social distancing are now exercising 4 times or more a week). But what’s less certain is whether they are seeing any desired results from this. Paradoxically, some of those who are running everyday may still be putting on weight and may even be becoming less fit than they were before.

The reason? Ultimately the bulk of our life right now is sedentary. We forget how much movement we do in 24 hours just going about our usual daily lives. It’s certainly harder to get your typical 6,000 steps a day in if the only walking to work you do is from your bedroom to your living room. The reality is, for some of us who were very active before lockdown, a run a day just won’t match the level of activity we were doing regularly beforehand.

Another reason, as we saw in Issue No.2, is the counteracting effect of increased exercise vs. increased alcohol consumption. Similarly, in these testing times, not everyone will be eating as healthily as they could be.

So what does this mean for brands?

Knowledge is power

Education pieces around why consumers may not be seeing the results they hope for will help to reassure. Explain you understand why they could be struggling and that it’s unlikely to be a sign of failure on their part.

Actionable advice

Snippets of content on social channels covering how to incorporate more activity into everyday life, (e.g. home workouts, running up and down the stairs, etc.), can help to empower people to make changes. Realistic things they can do are a lot more motivating than looking at beautiful, buff Insta bodies.

Be sensitive

Adding on a few extra pounds or not hitting a new PB isn’t going to be top of everyone’s health concerns when a pandemic is happening; and failing to realise this could have serious negative implications for your brand. Similarly, be in tune to the fact that coming out of this, consumers may have been putting in the hours and the reps but feeling disheartened. They may not have achieved results they’d wanted to, and so it won’t be the time to saturate them with perfect images of those who have managed to strictly stick to their training plans.

Now, more than ever, is a chance to help your consumers, make a difference in their lives and show that you can be empathic, encouraging – and human.

You can read our report, Issue No.3, on changing exercise habits here or request our full report on the implications of COVID19 by contacting us: insight@theyardcreative.com.