ONE of the legacies of social distancing and the covid-19 pandemic could be the public placing greater emphasis on health and exercise, new figures suggest.

A survey of more than 7,600 UK adults published by Decathlon in the Decathlon Activity Index, revealed almost half (42%) of British adults are exercising more than they were prior to when social distancing measures were introduced – and this is something more than one in two (52%) of plan to keep up as rules are eased.

A further one in three (35%) say they are also now more keen to look after their health than before the pandemic hit.

This has led to a surge in the number of people participating in different kinds of sports - running, cycling and yoga have all increased in popularity since the virus took hold.

While for a small number, it has simply been a case of using exercise as an excuse to get outside (26%) while social distancing measures have been in place, this newfound appetite could also be a result of many having fallen in love with the numerous benefits of exercise during lockdown.

More than one in four (25%) said they have found exercising more enjoyable over the past couple of months, while one in three (31%) said working out has helped to improve their mental health.

The Decathlon Activity Index tracks rates of participation in sport and other physical activities across the year through a national survey repeated every month throughout the year.

To view the Decathlon Activity Index, visit