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Tell people they can’t, and they will instantly want to. Restrict people’s movement, and they will seemingly want to move. 

At this point before we go any further, I should point out that I’m in no way a health or psychology expert…

We’re in lockdown and following Boris’ big announcement we’re getting used to the “new daily norm”. Video calls are life, virtual coffee breaks are surprisingly refreshing and we’re all realising how loudly our housemates / family / partners all type…

The other big part of BoJo’s address to the nation, which the whole Brandwave crew were waiting to hear with bated breath, was the restriction around getting out of the house for exercise. We feel lucky to be allowed out of our homes at this time and appreciate this hasn’t been possible for some of our European friends.

Over the last few days, I’ve cashed in my daily exercise coupon for a much needed ride out to the edge of the South Downs and some local loops. Riding back into town, I usually take in a quick lap of the seafront en-route home pre-sunset.

Southsea sunset vibes.

Riding alongside the beach, never have I seen so many people this time of year walking, jogging, running, riding and generally making the most of being outdoors. All whilst keeping their distance and sharing the odd courteous wave of acknowledgement. Special kudos and mention to the guy running in jeans, good on him. Thinking back, he either needs to invest in some kit or he clocked the police approaching and wanted to look active sharpish.

It’s not just about getting active outside either. People are moving more in their own homes too during lockdown. The search for on demand fitness has gone through the roof. The “home workout” search term has taken off in popularity across the UK.

Stats from Google Trends, 100 being peak popularity / 0 meaning not enough data for the term. Thanks to Richard Playfair for sharing his early thoughts on this with the team.

Aside from the usual sport / fitness crowd getting out there, and despite FitBit reporting a slight decrease in the UK’s step count since the outbreak, it seems more people are becoming aware of the importance to seize the opportunity, to get outside, exercise and workout. They’re starting to experience the physical and psychological benefits.

This is the tipping point I feel that so many initiatives, like OS GetOutSide, have needed. It’s essentially the manifestation of Persil’s iconic Yard Time ad happening in real life, real time.

So for now, let’s cash those exercise coupons wisely, keep it local and appreciate the daily opportunity to get outside responsibly while we still can. 

When we get out of these crazy, turbulent times, hopefully there will be more runners, riders, weekend warriors and regularly active people in the UK.

Oliver Robinson