Immediately after March 23rd 2020, we were given a seemingly endless amount of time.
There are only so many funny cat videos we can watch, banana loaves we can bake and toilet rolls we can hoard.
Eventually, boredom settles in.
Positively, the scientific literature reports that many of us have utilised our newly-found spare time to pursue various fitness endeavours. Studies by Sport England, Sport Wales, Fitbit and Nuffield have all reported surges in activity levels across lockdown-stricken communities. It seems the pandemic has provided an invaluable opportunity for many to engage in physical activity; this should be celebrated but, crucially, it must be continued. We regularly hear that we live in a ‘supersized’ Britain and that a worrying proportion of the population are obese. This spike in fitness fanaticism is a chance for our society to reflect on what it means to be healthy, both physically and mentally.
To clarify, I’m not advocating that people wake up in the middle of the night to attend the gym before work, nor am I proposing we overthrow the government and install Joe Wicks as our supreme leader. I’m merely championing the idea that a continuation of the exercise habits we’ve acquired during this crisis will be hugely beneficial, not just through future periods of isolation, but to society as a whole. Improving fitness will doubtlessly ease the strain on the already stretched healthcare system, boost quality of life and, something that is frequently overlooked, will help us battle another national pandemic: poor mental health.
I hope we can look back in years to come and say that we used the tragedy of Covid-19 as a starting block to becoming a healthier nation, the legacy of which even eclipsing that of the London 2012 Olympics.