back to article You'd think lockdown would be heaven for us layabouts – but half the UK has actually started 'exercising more'

Taking conference calls in your pyjamas? Furloughed into endless gaming? A University College London study is now saying that far from instigating a pandemic of bone-idleness, the lockdown has prompted healthy exercise and interest in meditation. According to the study, more than half of the UK population are now exercising or …

  1. Pete 2

    Say or do?

    > After getting nearly 4,000 responses

    So all this survey did was ask some people (ones who stepped forward to tell the researchers how virtuous they are?) what they did. That is a long way short of having actual evidence that they weren't lying, mistaken, exaggerating or didn't understand the question. ISTM that surveys are far too unreliable to base any course of action on.

    In fact, I asked 8,000 people online if they thought surveys were accurate ...... they replied in the affirmative to whatever question anyone who is willing to pay me for the results, cares to ask them. Of course, it might just have been one person or a 'bot, that responded 8000 times. I guess we'll never know.

    1. druck Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Say or do?

      UCL is certainly no longer the same institution as when I did my degree there in the late 80s. Junk science and denaming (SIC) of buildings pervades.

    2. You aint sin me, roit
      Pint

      Self-selecting survey

      While the respondents claim they are doing yoga and meditation, the actual figures show the nation is turning to bottled firms of relaxation...

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Self-selecting survey

        Some anyway. Locking down in the Scottish Borders and unwilling to drive (as we normally cycle the 5 miles either way) to get any enormous load, has severely reduced our alcohol intake. At the same time, not having to worry about commuting to Edinburgh a few times a week has made cycling much easier - which combine with the weather has got us up to 40 miles per day for the fun of it*

        *Yes another bit of anecdotal data (certainly not evidence of something that can be extrapolated), but in the same vein, I see rather more cyclists coming past every day, some of whom tend to be weekend only riders as their commutes get in the way.

        1. macjules Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Self-selecting survey

          I would be in a perpetual loop of cycling to the offy only to need to stop and have a sharpener ... and then have to to go back for more.

          icon, well .. because ..

        2. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Self-selecting survey

          Locking down in the Scottish Borders .... has severely reduced our alcohol intake

          Does not compute. Have you failed to have sufficient cases of Scotch put by in case of zombies? What were you bloody thinking?!

          I could go for probably about 10 years before running out of whiskey, maybe 20, but after that there's various shades of vodka knocking about and some miscellaneous bottles of cocktail ingredient stuff.

          You can't drink toilet roll chap!

        3. You aint sin me, roit

          Mail order booze

          I've heard you can buy booze online and have it delivered.

  2. imanidiot Silver badge

    Not wasting time commuting while working from home, the option to run around to the shops in a lunch break instead of only after work, not wasting time with sometimes utterly pointless social obligations, etc, leaves plenty of extra time in a day to actually do this exercise in. I also wouldn't be surprised to see that the extra exercise people get is running up and down the stairs 3 times per day and pales in comparison to what they actually do when working.

    1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

      The opposite for me...

      At work I have to clamber up & down stairs to get to the loo, or to the kitchen.

      Working at home in a two-bedroom flat means that the kettle is fifteen feet in one direction and the bog is the same distance the other way.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Sounds inefficient, with a bit of reorganization and an extension lead you could never have to leave the throne

  3. Cuddles Silver badge

    Exercies or "exercise"

    Meditation and "strolling" are not actually exercise. I certainly see a lot more people at the moment taking several hours to walk a few hundred metres around a park, but as iamanidiot notes that sort of thing is probably much less exercise than they used to get just working a normal job. Indeed, it was particularly notable early on in the lockdown how many people took "one exercise per day" to mean "go and sit in the park with a book once per day". And of course the entire point of meditation is to not move around and just relax, which is pretty much the exact opposite of exercise.

    These sorts of things likely have benefits for mental health and such, especially given the alternative of being shut inside a house all day doing nothing, but they're not going to make any difference in terms of getting fit or losing weight. It's all very well to study how people cope with lockdown, but it seems pretty odd to proclaim that people are doing more exercise, and then go on to note that by far the biggest increases were in activities that involve no exercise whatsoever.

    1. hmv Silver badge

      Re: Exercies or "exercise"

      Strolling most definitely is exercise; it's not energetic exercise and won't do much for your cardio (unless you live somewhere bumpy). Admittedly it's hardly worth bothering if you're strolling just a few hundred metres.

      I'm a stroller, and hauling my huge lardy arse around for up to an hour every day has resulted in a small amount of weight loss - 3kilos.

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "course the entire point of meditation is to not move around and just relax"

    Actually, the point of meditation is supposed to be working towards enlightenment. Stasis and relaxation are merely means of entering a state where the mind becomes more receptive.

    1. LucreLout Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "course the entire point of meditation is to not move around and just relax"

      Actually, the point of meditation is supposed to be working towards enlightenment. Stasis and relaxation are merely means of entering a state where the mind becomes more receptive.

      Oh really? And here's me thinking the point of Yoga is to give crafty 20 something guys a limitless supply of bored 30 something housewives to play hide the sausage with. Consider me enlightened.

  5. John Robson Silver badge

    Representative is a missing word

    "After getting nearly 4,000 responses,"

    None of those will be those who are depressed as a result of incaceration

  6. LucreLout Silver badge

    Snowflakes....

    For 18 to 24-year-olds, 36 per cent reported being irritable "quite a lot" and 8 per cent "all the time"; 30 per cent said they were distressed "quite a lot" and 31 per cent said they were upset "quite a lot". The over-65s were much more chilled. Only 10 per cent said they were distressed "quite a lot", with very few saying "all the time" for any of the listed negative feelings

    Lets just reformat that a little:

    18-24 36% irritable a lot - so 3 x more likely than the boomers

    65+ 10% irritable a lot

    18-24 30% distressed quite a lot - so 30+ x more likely than the boomers

    65+ ~0% distressed quite a lot

    18-24 31% upset quite a lot - so 31+ x more likely than the boomers

    65+ ~0% upset quite a lot

    So broadly speaking the young aren't coping and the old are doing just fine. It turns out then that sitting about in some coffee shop circle jerk inventing genders, dreaming up ways to be oppressed, and generally moaning about old people doesn't prepare you for life. Who knew?

    Your country needs you to sit on your arse and watch telly - I mean, you're not being shipped to the trenches, you're not being conscripted into the army, you're not even being asked to do a hazardous job. You're practically bloody immune to Covid and your moaning about it more than those in the death zone.

    Sorry kids, you're going to have to toughen up a little because you just don't have any other actual options. It's no good moaning about the boomers when your generation can't even handle staying home for a few weeks - you can still spend endless hours writing garbage on twitter and faking up a lifestyle in instagram, while pretending to influence your followers (who are mostly just dead accounts set up by bot networks anyway), or just stream yet another box set on netflix. You won't make it through your peak suicide years (35-45ish) in anything like your current horrifically incapable lifestyles.

    which goes to show what ... getting a gold-plated pension can do for you, right Baby Boomers?

    I think you'll find today's public sector workers still get the same solid gold pensions they always did, with just one or two of the smallest tweaks thrown in. It's the rest of us that are still suffering Gordon Browns first act as Chancer of the Exchequer.

    1. Insert sadsack pun here

      Re: Snowflakes....

      "So broadly speaking the young aren't coping and the old are doing just fine. It turns out then that sitting about i...[tedious list of stereotypes goes here..."

      You're being wilfully silly here. The real reason the young are doing worse during lockdown is that they're more less likely to be able to access furlough (as gig workers, students etc), more likely to be put on furlough if eligible, more likely to be living in cramped city centre housing, more likely to be sharing with people, less likely to have a garden, less likely to be able to work from home...

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Snowflakes....

        You're being wilfully silly here.

        Partly yes, partly no - there is a real problem with the young just being far too fragile for life, which is entirely self inflicted by their own dumbass behavior. If the only adversity you've ever faced is some made up "microaggressions" and as a result you've turned out soft as clarts, well, you're going to have to toughen up because you have no other options - we simply can't support you in your fantasy world when reality bites.

        The real reason the young are doing worse during lockdown is that they're more less likely to be able to access furlough

        You're going to need to supply some evidence for that view because....

        as gig workers, students etc

        Most Uber drivers are over 25 as are most Lyft drivers, most deliveroo, most gig workers in fact. and since you can't be furloughed from not having a job, putting students here was just plain silly.

        more likely to be put on furlough if eligible

        Yes and that is for many reasons. One of which, in software development at least, experience matters an awful lot more than what the young misconstrue as "talent", leading to their generally having demanded salaries way in excess of their actual abilities. Where once some oldster like me would have been given the bullet to preserve a team of 3 or 4 younger engineers they're working with, now you only get to save 1.5 to 2 of them, and they can't manage the same workload as an experienced developer so its cheaper to get shot of the young.

        more likely to be living in cramped city centre housing

        By their own choice and doing because they want to be able to walk tot he bars and coffee shops and work rather than have to take the train for example. So whose fault is that really?

        more likely to be sharing with people

        So they have their own little community already then. They're complaining why?

        less likely to have a garden

        But much more likely to have a whole range of city center parks to go play in.

        less likely to be able to work from home

        That one you'll need to explain because it makes no sense - the ability to work from home depends on the job not the age of the person doing it. Sure, some sectors such as hospitality do have a lot of young staff and are down the swanny, but that's a small proportion of the young.

        1. Glen 1 Silver badge

          Re: Snowflakes....

          So many things wrong with your post. Talk about out of touch with reality. Ill just deal with the main points.

          "far too fragile for life, "

          Or rather - they're not about to put up with your bullshit, and have enough of a backbone to act accordingly, rather than be so cowed that they never speak up.

          see also: feminism, civil rights, gay rights, rewinding...Sufragette movement, abolition of slavery, rewinding... no taxation without representation, rewinding... The magna carta existed because a bunch of lords were no longer going to put up with the King's bullshit.

          In a more modern context: Unwanted sexual touching is sexual assault. Slapping someone on the ass is a) often unwanted b) usually sexual in nature. Therefore anyone who does that where it was not consented to, has committed sexual assault. Spelling it out like this often annoys certain people, their thought pattern seems to go like this:

          People who do sexual assault are obviously Bad People, and *they* are not Bad People, therefore, what they do *cannot* be sexual assault. If the victims make a fuss, they are accused of being "too sensitive" or "fragile". Its like the folk who think they are good drivers because they keep taking risks and haven't been in accident (having caused plenty).

          "demanded salaries way in excess of their actual abilities"

          its called market forces. The managers didn't have to say yes to those demands, but they did. Why? If the managers don't see your worth relative to the yunguns in the same way as you do, some of that blame lies with you. You can be secure in the knowledge that you are right as you apply for a dwindling number of higher level jobs. Hope you kept those skills up-to-date.

          "By their own choice"

          Gentrification is what happens *after* these young folk who *go on* to become professionals move in. Until then, its the cheapest place to live, crime rates are high as no-one has anything. Think Brixton or Queens from 10-20 years ago. The trendy coffee/wine bars spring up because its where their market *is*, not the other way round. Leafy suburbs are for rich people.

          "So they have their own little community already then."

          Spoken as someone who has obviously never lived in a house share.

          "...hospitality do have a lot of young staff and are down the swanny, but that's a small proportion of the young."

          No. it really isnt.

          Chart

          Young folk are more likely to be in hospitality or retail than any other industry.

          "you can't be furloughed from not having a job"

          A few that might have been true during the age of "The young ones" ~40 years ago. Show me a student that doesn't have a job today, and I'll show you someone who is being bankrolled by their parents. Maybe that's more common in the US, but over here, part of the leaving-home-for-uni right of passage includes financial independence. Unless, of course, your parents are absolutely loaded, but most folks just aren't that rich.

          In conclusion, your worldview seems to be of someone who doesn't think the world has changed in the last 30 years. It has. With Millennials now pushing 40, it's not just "young people" with these newfangled viewpoints. Society is always changing. Keep up or get left behind.

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: Snowflakes....

            Are you OK Glen 1? Are you having some sort of problem today? Only the first half of your ranting screed of a response has nothing at all to do with my post to which you seemingly responded.

            Your apparent defence against being a snowflake is to rant about wokiness while referencing a bunch of things my generation and the ones before fought for and won, and that yours had handed to it on a plate.

            Lets move on to your second half, which is at least tangentially connected shall we?

            its called market forces. The managers didn't have to say yes to those demands, but they did.

            They do if they wanted to recruit anyone. When the tide goes out however, you see who is swimming without trunks, hence the traditional RIF no longer applying. Gen X should be about to get cut silly in the post-covid pull back, but so far to date its the overpriced millennial's facing the executioner. I know and have explained why that is. You disagree, so why is it you think it's happening? Try to be rational rather than emotive.

            The trendy coffee/wine bars spring up because its where their market *is*, not the other way round.

            And yet you're still wrong. Camden, Clapham, Angel, etc etc were all cool and trendy before any millennial every set foot in them. Brixton has been up and coming since before I was born, not because the first millennial's moved in.

            Spoken as someone who has obviously never lived in a house share.

            Spoken like someone that last lived in a shared house 2 decades ago and is still close friends with is former housemates. If yours don't like you, well, that might be for a reason, no?

            Young folk are more likely to be in hospitality or retail than any other industry.

            The age group you've defined as "the young" are mostly in continuing forms of education and as such many will not be employed at all, those that are will likely have been bar work or waiting tables. That citation of yours however provides no evidence at all to refute the statement that those working in hospitality or retail are a tiny proportion of the young. They're dwarfed by those in education.

            Show me a student that doesn't have a job today, and I'll show you someone who is being bankrolled by their parents.

            Some are, some aren't. A lot will be part supported by loans and part supported by mam n dad.

            In conclusion, your worldview seems to be of someone who doesn't think the world has changed in the last 30 years. It has.

            I know - I built a lot of the change I wanted to see.

            Your view seems to be of someone born yesterday, who expects that because his parents didn't ever tell him "no" that nobody else should, or that you can't just have what you want right now because you're worth it.

            it's not just "young people" with these newfangled viewpoints

            Its not a "new fangled viewpoint", its a full blown incarnation of doublethink. Do I side with the lesbians, or the transexuals? Do I despise discrimination in all its forms, except against the old because I hate boomers? Its symptomatic of not having the experience or the intelligence to think through a viewpoint properly, based on facts rather than emotion, and then being prepared to change your mind when the facts change.

            You've a lot of growing up to do, and unless you let go some of your empty headed ideals, you're going to find it a painful process, or worse still end up like Jeremy Corbyn. A bitter, failed old man, with nothing in his life but might-have-been's and hatred of the successful for no better reason than you never had the drive to join them.

      2. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Snowflakes....

        Not to mention that most people over 65 are retired, what with that being the normal retirement age at the moment (although soon to increase by a year or two). For an awful lot of people, the retired lifestyle looks almost exactly like lockdown, so it's hardly surprising that they cope better when forced to do exactly what they were already doing. Even more so when you consider the financial situation, given that someone living off a pension and savings doesn't need to worry about being furloughed or suddenly losing their job entirely.

        Even ignoring retirement, the likelihood of being more settled down and more financially stable pretty much scales with age. So of course it's the younger people who tend to be more widely social, travel further and for longer, but don't have any kind of stable career or financial base to fall back on who are the most worried.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Snowflakes....

      @LucreLout: I think you are taking a very negative point of view here. Other commenters have made many of the points I have in mind. Your comment about not understanding why it is more difficult for younger people to work from home again shows what seems to be wilful ignorance - a lot if younger folk are sharing accommodation with other people, and have restricted room for working from home. Anecdata alert - the other day I was speaking with a tech support contact for my ISP, and she was clearly being distracted by someone else. I asked if she was back in the office, and she said no, she was at home, a flat shared with three other people and only one ethernet socket - in the living room.

      Additionally, lots of young people have children and no separate work space. It is nearly impossible to work in those conditions.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Snowflakes....

        a lot if younger folk are sharing accommodation with other people, and have restricted room for working from home

        No different to sharing your house with your family. Working from home usually requires a laptop or other PC which don't take up much space.

        I asked if she was back in the office, and she said no, she was at home, a flat shared with three other people and only one ethernet socket - in the living room.

        Plug a wifi router in then? I mean, if all you try to achieve are problems then you'll make your life very hard. Try to find solutions instead.

        Additionally, lots of young people have children and no separate work space.

        Its not just the young - I have young kids and no separate workspace, or in fact workspace at all. I'm camped in the dining room, which is the main thoroughfare in my house.

        It is nearly impossible to work in those conditions.

        I'm calling BS on this. I'm managing fine, and so are my fellow Gen X colleagues with kids at home.

        I mean, yes, I do get disrupted during the day, but as I'm not commuting I simply throw a few extra hours at work over the day to keep productivity high.

        Its all about mentality. I see challenges to be overcome on my way to victory. Too many young see made up microaggressions, insurmountable problems, and would rather wallow in defeat than strive to win.

        If it sounds harsh, well, it won't be half as harsh once the last of the wave 2 boomers retire and gen x join them on the beach; you're going to have to solve for yourselves because we won't be there to fix it for you in the future.

  7. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Bending the elbow

    is a form of exercise. I've definitely upped my number of reps.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bending the elbow

      Lucky mrs cat I only have to bend at the wrist to get my reps in...

    2. LucreLout Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Bending the elbow

      Bending the elbow

      is a form of exercise. I've definitely upped my number of reps.

      Weights & measures.... its like weights & cardio, but without the sweating.

  8. fishman

    My observations

    We live in a neighborhood with 430 homes. Each day my wife and I go out and walk for an hour, covering 3.2 miles. Usually we see 5 to 8 people out walking. We've walked at different times but haven't noticed an increase of people at certain times. And we haven't noticed a jump in the number of people walking from last year.

  9. HildyJ Silver badge
    Devil

    Exercise and irritability

    walking, bicycling, and strolling seem much less like a response to "I need to exercise more" and much more like a response to "I need to get out of this freaking house!"

    As for old people coping better, it's because we're used to being marginalized and ignored.

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