According to a survey sent out by the Christchurch Adventure Park, cycling has been the most popular form of exercise while people are in lockdown.
The survey was conducted over the ANZAC long weekend, with nearly 1,000 people responding to questions about exercise habits, eating habits and mental wellbeing in Level 4 Lockdown. Christchurch Adventure Park General Manager Anne Newman said the survey was about developing a deeper understanding of how being in lockdown has affected local people.
“This is such an unprecedented time for everyone and it has affected different people in very different ways. We wanted to understand how people are feeling as they come out of the Level 4 Lockdown, and to get information that may help us to shape our offering at the Christchurch Adventure Park when we are able to reopen,” Ms Newman said.
“What this survey has confirmed is that people are as keen as ever to get outside and get physical, and that exercise combined with eating habits and social engagement are very important factors in people’s wellbeing.”
The survey showed that people are exercising more regularly during lockdown that they were prior to Alert Level 4, but that in many cases the exercise is less strenuous than it would have previously been. For those who are using cycling as a regular form of exercise in lockdown, for example, many commented that they are sticking to the flat rather than hitting the hills, and going shorter distances than they usually would due to restrictions set by the Government and the fact that children are often accompanying adults on their bike rides.
Twenty-three percent of survey respondents said the lockdown has led to them taking up new forms of exercise. After cycling (78%), the most popular form of exercise in lockdown is walking (64%) followed by at-home workouts (38%) and running (37%). Many people intend to keep up these new exercise habits following the end of lockdown too, with an increase in the number of people saying they intend to regularly go cycling/mountainbiking, walking/hiking, running, attend a gym or exercise classes, do at-home workouts, and take part in individual sports in the twelve months following the lifting of lockdown, than were regularly doing these activities prior to lockdown.
The only decrease seen was in team sports, which have been particularly hard hit due to physical distancing requirements. Within those surveyed, thirty fewer people said they intended to take part in team sports in the 12 months following lockdown than were taking part prior to lockdown.
With the common theme of more regular but less strenuous exercise in lockdown, there was a fairly even split between those who think they will come out of this period more fit, less fit, and about the same level of fitness as they were prior to lockdown.
Dietary habits have also been affected, with a little of half of people saying their diet has changed during lockdown - 31% for the better and 27% for the worse. Those who say they are eating healthier largely attribute that to less takeaways and more time to plan and cook at home. The most common culprits of a bad lockdown diet are more home baking, more snacking and boredom.
While 45% of respondents didn't feel there had been any change to their mental health as a result of the lockdown, 35% felt their mental health was either somewhat (32%) or significantly (3%) worse, and 21% felt it was somewhat (18%) or significantly (3%) better. The most common factor in improved mental health and wellbeing was the slower pace of life, while the most common factor in a worsened state of mental health and wellbeing was the loss of social contact.
“We also saw more family time (45%) and more regular exercise (43%) come through as strong factors in those who felt they had experienced some improvement to their mental health and wellbeing, and those are the kinds of positive changes that we would love to be able to help people maintain as the country starts progressively moving back to some version of normal,” Ms Newman said.
“We may not be able to open our gates again just yet, but we definitely see a role for the Christchurch Adventure Park in being a wellbeing destination for Cantabrians and visitors when we are operating again. We can offer something for all ages and abilities including fitness, adventure, fun, family time, social time, wholesome food and nature – all things that this survey has confirmed Cantabrians value and desire.”