Exercise your way out of Lockdown with the British Heart Foundation

A new survey from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has revealed that during lockdown Brits have been exercising less, whilst indulging in more junk food and alcohol than we did before lockdown started.

The report shows that over 50% of adults in the UK have let an active lifestyle fall to the wayside, with 55% of Brits admitting to spending more time surfing the internet and using social media. Our TV time has also increased with half of the adults surveyed saying they are ramping up more viewing hours since lockdown began, whilst 25% of gamers have spent more time on PCs and consoles.

It’s not just our activity levels that have dropped. We’re eating less healthily too, with over a fifth of adults consuming more junk food and almost one in five admitting that they have drunk more alcohol during the lockdown period.

The BHF warns that these sudden and prolonged changes in our diet and exercise levels may take its toll on our health. 30% of Brits surveyed say they feel less healthy and almost half of us are feeling more anxious.

Get active in a safe and enjoyable way

In response to their survey, BHF is inspiring us to get active now lockdown is lifting by taking part in their new My Step Challenge.

The charity has launched the new fundraiser, with support from Olympic medal winner Roger Black, to encourage the nation to get active in a safe and enjoyable way while raising funds for the charity’s lifesaving research.

British Heart Foundation Ambassador Roger Black MBE said: “I’ve never let my heart condition hold me back from achieving my goals. I’m proud to be a British Heart Foundation Ambassador as the research they fund helps people like myself lead a fit and healthy life.”

“In these unprecedented times, looking after our physical and mental health has never been more important. Walking is an essential part of my life and a great form of exercise that anyone can do. My Step Challenge is a brilliant way to connect with others, get active and feel good – as well as helping raise money to support the BHF’s vital work.”

Levels of activity for all abilities

My Step Challenge has three different levels:

  • 50,000 Steps: This is ideal for anyone new to exercise who wants to start small and build daily step counts over a month or two.
  • 250,000 Steps: If you are already relatively active, this is the perfect challenge for you, that allows you to walk at your own pace and not push yourself too soon.
  • 500,000 Steps: This challenge is suitable for people who can comfortably walk over 12,500 steps each day,

There are no limits to how long it takes to complete the challenges, which have all been designed with the expert advice of BHF Cardiac nurses to ensure that everyone can participate whatever their fitness level may be, including anyone with circulatory or heart conditions.

Barbara Kobson, a senior cardiac nurse at BHF commented: “We’ve all felt the strain of lockdown but it’s important to try and limit the impact it has on our health. Brisk walking for 20-30 minutes a day can be a simple way to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week and can also improve sleep patterns, reduce stress levels, boost your energy levels and help you get fit and active.”

“Whether you’re new to exercise or an experienced walker, taking part in the garden or at the park, or even if you’re walking in your own front room, My Step Challenge has a target to suit you. Each step you take will help support the BHF’s life-saving research into heart and circulatory conditions, which affects around 7.4 million people in the UK.”