GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window
Technogym
Technogym
Technogym
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

It's a lock in

Lockdown led to us eating less fruit and veg, taking less exercise and boozing more. The UEA’s Dr Felix Naughton, talks to Kath Hudson about his research into lifestyle habits under lockdown...

Published in Health Club Handbook 2021 issue 1
Although lockdown led to more alcohol consumption, it wasn’t during the day / SHUTTERSTOCK/Sam Wordley
Although lockdown led to more alcohol consumption, it wasn’t during the day / SHUTTERSTOCK/Sam Wordley
Men drank more in each episode, but women were drinking more frequently, which some studies suggest is connected to pandemic related stress

Although there were winners and losers, our research indicated the lockdowns has a negative impact on lifestyle behaviours. The main problem will be if some of these negative changes turn into enduring habits once normality resumes,” says Dr Felix Naughton, lead researcher on the University of East Anglia’s C‐19 health behaviour and well‐being daily tracker study. “Just a small negative change in lifestyle behaviour would result in a later jump in prevalence of chronic disease and death when converted to a national scale.”

The study kicked off in April 2020, just after the first lockdown was announced. A cohort of more than 1000 UK-based residents were assessed for 84 days, via a daily survey asking about symptoms, mood, wellbeing, nutrition, physical activity, sleep and substance use. This was backed up with qualitative interviews with a sample of the group. Follow up surveys were conducted at three and six months and 12 months.

As the UK population struggled to adapt to life under lockdown, working at home, being furloughed, or coping with the stress of being a key worker, as well as dealing with the ever-present anxiety of the virus, and sometimes homeschooling, the survey suggested unhealthy habits and negative coping strategies were more prevalent than a detox and a jog. Worsening unhealthy behaviours were most associated with being younger, female and having a higher BMI.

“On average, people’s health behaviour worsened in the early stages of the pandemic,” says Naughton. “And even short term unhealthy habits can impact the immune response, which is not what you want in a pandemic.”

Reaching for the wine
Overall, people drank more alcohol. Among the general population the more affluent socio-economic groups drink more frequently, but the lower groups have a tendency to binge drink. The research suggested a general uptick in drinking to cope.

“There was a gender difference in alcohol consumption,” explains Naughton. “Men drank more in each episode, but women were drinking more frequently, which some studies suggest is connected to pandemic related stress.

“Being a key worker, older and male was associated with a greater number of drinks consumed on a typical day’s drinking and consuming alcohol on a greater number of days was associated with being older and female.”

Longer term, Naughton thinks this could lead to people drinking more: “We take our behavioural cues from our environment,” he says. “So if people didn’t used to drink at home but have now become accustomed to it, they might carry on doing so.”

Skipping the daily exercise
The survey also revealed an average 20 per cent reduction in the days where participants did more than 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. “This is quite a big drop,” says Naughton. “Younger people showed the biggest reduction in physical exercise, possibly because they think less long term than older people about how exercise can impact their health.

“Another group which revealed an increase in unhealthy behaviours was people who are overweight or obese. We can only speculate that much of their routine physical activity came from moving about in their everyday lives and they had fewer habits to purposefully exercise.”

With people being housebound, the physical activity they would usually get as part of their daily routine was stripped away: for example walking or cycling as part of their commute or walking around their workplace. Under lockdown, people had to make a concerted effort to exercise and if they are not in the habit of doing so, or don’t live in an environment which is conducive to exercise, then they were more likely to become inactive.

The study showed people who had health conditions which made them more at risk of developing a bad response to COVID displayed some of the biggest reductions in physical activity. Naughton attributes this to shielding, making so many housebound.

“There are many factors which influence how physically active people are,” he says. “But shielding did prove to be life limiting. One person suddenly showed a marked change in behaviour and their activity levels greatly increased. When we questioned them it was because they had become fed up with shielding and decided to go back to their allotment.”

Cutting down on vegetables
Relative to pre-pandemic levels, participants ate almost one portion of fruit and vegetables less per day. Although that might not sound drastic, Naughton points out that if this was scaled up across the nation it would equate to a 5 per cent increase in premature death from cardiovascular disease.

The research showed that people with a high BMI also had a worse diet and were more likely to snack than those with a low BMI.

“This may reflect that people with a higher BMI are more likely to comfort eat and have a tendency to use high sugar snacks as a coping strategy,” says Naughton.

Stepping up strength training
Amongst the gloomy results, there were also some glimpses of positive behaviour change, including a sizeable increase in strength training. “We saw a 15 per cent increase in strength training, which was positive and suggests people might be finding different ways to engage with physical activity in the home,” says Naughton.

“Also we expected to see an increase in high sugar snacks, but there was no overall change in that respect. Some people increased and some decreased, so on average there was no change.”

Despite the well-documented stress of homeschooling, fortunately there was no indication that it drove people to day drink: “We looked at whether having parental responsibility during working hours changed health behaviours during lockdown, but there was no effect.”

The team are now working on analysing the results of the follow-up surveys, but so far it would appear the initial changes have largely persisted, especially because of the prolonged third lockdown in the winter months, when morale dipped. “People were fed up with having their lives on hold, working from home or not working at all and were finding it hard to motivate themselves,” says Naughton.

As we edge towards normality again, hopefully for good, there is the hope that people will find they are able to improve their health. “This would have an important bearing on our national ascent out of the pandemic,” says Naughton. “Healthy behaviours lead to a better immune response, which improves the ability to fight COVID, makes the vaccine more effective as well as contributing to good mental health.”

Dr Felix Naughton is lead researcher on the University of East Anglia’s C‐19 health behaviour and well‐being daily tracker study

The research suggested lockdown led a few of us to comfort eat / SHUTTERSTOCK/Ahmet Misirligul
The research suggested lockdown led a few of us to comfort eat / SHUTTERSTOCK/Ahmet Misirligul
A sizeable uptick in strength training was one of the more positive findings / SHUTTERSTOCK/Gorodenkoff
A sizeable uptick in strength training was one of the more positive findings / SHUTTERSTOCK/Gorodenkoff
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/122429_480433.jpg
Lockdown wasn’t good for the nation’s health, and the bad habits forged in lockdown one have endured. Dr Felix Naughton talks to Kath Hudson about the findings from the UEA’s research
HCM magazine
This year’s edition of the IHRSA Global Report which addresses performance from 2020, is a valuable record of the tremendous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector, creating a benchmark from which to understand the recovery. Kristen Walsh reports for HCM
HCM magazine
I’d like to see the gym sector help champion the social prescribing agenda, as a route to getting more people engaged in physical activity
HCM magazine
Screens display power generated from each piece of equipment, allowing people to compete against each other for kilowatt hours produced
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
It’s another sign that the health club sector globally is still in its infancy, with untrodden territory still to be had
HCM Magazine
Interview
The co-founder of The Great Outdoor Gym Company has a vision to inspire communities to become healthy and sustainable, both environmentally and personally. She speaks to Kate Cracknell
HCM Magazine
Letters
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
HCM Magazine
Active ageing
David Minton says the healthy movement industry is ten times bigger than the health club sector, and the care industry four times bigger and ask why we’re not rushing to collaborate?
HCM Magazine
Mental health
Research confirms the role health clubs can play in supporting people in nurturing their mental health, as Victor Brick explains
HCM Magazine
Research
Changes to DNA which occur during exercise give protection against a wide range of diseases, according to new research from the Univesity of Copenhagen
HCM Magazine
Statistics
How have consumers responded to the end of lockdowns? Cesar Carvalho shares some bounceback numbers with HCM
HCM Magazine
Latest News
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
Latest News
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
Latest News
Anthony Hamilton, the father of F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, is launching a fitness equipment ...
Latest News
The pandemic has had an "unprecedented" impact on physical activity levels in England, with 1 ...
Latest News
The first énergie Fitness club has opened in Spain as part of a push for ...
Latest News
A global innovation competition has been launched to find ways to encourage and support more ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has acquired Body Fit Training in a deal worth US$44m. The deal takes ...
Latest News
Exercise has been highlighted as a crucial weapon in cancer patients’ battle against the disease. ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Founder of dynamic yoga platform launches cinematic wellbeing classes for luxury spas and hotels
Matt Miller, founder of leading yoga training platform Broga has announced the launch of Earth+Sky – a collection of cinematic virtual wellbeing classes filmed in breath-taking locations around the world.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Pulse Fitness completes transformation of The Laura Trott Leisure Centre gym
The Laura Trott Leisure Centre has recently undergone a significant transformation thanks to recent investment from Broxbourne Council and its partnership with Pulse Fitness.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: FIBO Global Fitness
FIBO Global Fitness is the leading international trade show for fitness, wellness & health....
Company profiles
Company profile: Pendex Fisio S.L.
Pendex programmes are delivered using 12 smart training machines, the design of which correlates with ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

It's a lock in

Lockdown led to us eating less fruit and veg, taking less exercise and boozing more. The UEA’s Dr Felix Naughton, talks to Kath Hudson about his research into lifestyle habits under lockdown...

Published in Health Club Handbook 2021 issue 1
Although lockdown led to more alcohol consumption, it wasn’t during the day / SHUTTERSTOCK/Sam Wordley
Although lockdown led to more alcohol consumption, it wasn’t during the day / SHUTTERSTOCK/Sam Wordley
Men drank more in each episode, but women were drinking more frequently, which some studies suggest is connected to pandemic related stress

Although there were winners and losers, our research indicated the lockdowns has a negative impact on lifestyle behaviours. The main problem will be if some of these negative changes turn into enduring habits once normality resumes,” says Dr Felix Naughton, lead researcher on the University of East Anglia’s C‐19 health behaviour and well‐being daily tracker study. “Just a small negative change in lifestyle behaviour would result in a later jump in prevalence of chronic disease and death when converted to a national scale.”

The study kicked off in April 2020, just after the first lockdown was announced. A cohort of more than 1000 UK-based residents were assessed for 84 days, via a daily survey asking about symptoms, mood, wellbeing, nutrition, physical activity, sleep and substance use. This was backed up with qualitative interviews with a sample of the group. Follow up surveys were conducted at three and six months and 12 months.

As the UK population struggled to adapt to life under lockdown, working at home, being furloughed, or coping with the stress of being a key worker, as well as dealing with the ever-present anxiety of the virus, and sometimes homeschooling, the survey suggested unhealthy habits and negative coping strategies were more prevalent than a detox and a jog. Worsening unhealthy behaviours were most associated with being younger, female and having a higher BMI.

“On average, people’s health behaviour worsened in the early stages of the pandemic,” says Naughton. “And even short term unhealthy habits can impact the immune response, which is not what you want in a pandemic.”

Reaching for the wine
Overall, people drank more alcohol. Among the general population the more affluent socio-economic groups drink more frequently, but the lower groups have a tendency to binge drink. The research suggested a general uptick in drinking to cope.

“There was a gender difference in alcohol consumption,” explains Naughton. “Men drank more in each episode, but women were drinking more frequently, which some studies suggest is connected to pandemic related stress.

“Being a key worker, older and male was associated with a greater number of drinks consumed on a typical day’s drinking and consuming alcohol on a greater number of days was associated with being older and female.”

Longer term, Naughton thinks this could lead to people drinking more: “We take our behavioural cues from our environment,” he says. “So if people didn’t used to drink at home but have now become accustomed to it, they might carry on doing so.”

Skipping the daily exercise
The survey also revealed an average 20 per cent reduction in the days where participants did more than 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. “This is quite a big drop,” says Naughton. “Younger people showed the biggest reduction in physical exercise, possibly because they think less long term than older people about how exercise can impact their health.

“Another group which revealed an increase in unhealthy behaviours was people who are overweight or obese. We can only speculate that much of their routine physical activity came from moving about in their everyday lives and they had fewer habits to purposefully exercise.”

With people being housebound, the physical activity they would usually get as part of their daily routine was stripped away: for example walking or cycling as part of their commute or walking around their workplace. Under lockdown, people had to make a concerted effort to exercise and if they are not in the habit of doing so, or don’t live in an environment which is conducive to exercise, then they were more likely to become inactive.

The study showed people who had health conditions which made them more at risk of developing a bad response to COVID displayed some of the biggest reductions in physical activity. Naughton attributes this to shielding, making so many housebound.

“There are many factors which influence how physically active people are,” he says. “But shielding did prove to be life limiting. One person suddenly showed a marked change in behaviour and their activity levels greatly increased. When we questioned them it was because they had become fed up with shielding and decided to go back to their allotment.”

Cutting down on vegetables
Relative to pre-pandemic levels, participants ate almost one portion of fruit and vegetables less per day. Although that might not sound drastic, Naughton points out that if this was scaled up across the nation it would equate to a 5 per cent increase in premature death from cardiovascular disease.

The research showed that people with a high BMI also had a worse diet and were more likely to snack than those with a low BMI.

“This may reflect that people with a higher BMI are more likely to comfort eat and have a tendency to use high sugar snacks as a coping strategy,” says Naughton.

Stepping up strength training
Amongst the gloomy results, there were also some glimpses of positive behaviour change, including a sizeable increase in strength training. “We saw a 15 per cent increase in strength training, which was positive and suggests people might be finding different ways to engage with physical activity in the home,” says Naughton.

“Also we expected to see an increase in high sugar snacks, but there was no overall change in that respect. Some people increased and some decreased, so on average there was no change.”

Despite the well-documented stress of homeschooling, fortunately there was no indication that it drove people to day drink: “We looked at whether having parental responsibility during working hours changed health behaviours during lockdown, but there was no effect.”

The team are now working on analysing the results of the follow-up surveys, but so far it would appear the initial changes have largely persisted, especially because of the prolonged third lockdown in the winter months, when morale dipped. “People were fed up with having their lives on hold, working from home or not working at all and were finding it hard to motivate themselves,” says Naughton.

As we edge towards normality again, hopefully for good, there is the hope that people will find they are able to improve their health. “This would have an important bearing on our national ascent out of the pandemic,” says Naughton. “Healthy behaviours lead to a better immune response, which improves the ability to fight COVID, makes the vaccine more effective as well as contributing to good mental health.”

Dr Felix Naughton is lead researcher on the University of East Anglia’s C‐19 health behaviour and well‐being daily tracker study

The research suggested lockdown led a few of us to comfort eat / SHUTTERSTOCK/Ahmet Misirligul
The research suggested lockdown led a few of us to comfort eat / SHUTTERSTOCK/Ahmet Misirligul
A sizeable uptick in strength training was one of the more positive findings / SHUTTERSTOCK/Gorodenkoff
A sizeable uptick in strength training was one of the more positive findings / SHUTTERSTOCK/Gorodenkoff
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/122429_480433.jpg
Lockdown wasn’t good for the nation’s health, and the bad habits forged in lockdown one have endured. Dr Felix Naughton talks to Kath Hudson about the findings from the UEA’s research
Latest News
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
Latest News
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
Latest News
Anthony Hamilton, the father of F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, is launching a fitness equipment ...
Latest News
The pandemic has had an "unprecedented" impact on physical activity levels in England, with 1 ...
Latest News
The first énergie Fitness club has opened in Spain as part of a push for ...
Latest News
A global innovation competition has been launched to find ways to encourage and support more ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has acquired Body Fit Training in a deal worth US$44m. The deal takes ...
Latest News
Exercise has been highlighted as a crucial weapon in cancer patients’ battle against the disease. ...
Latest News
The global health and fitness industry is returning to a busy programme of live trade ...
Latest News
Matrix and Intelivideo have signed a strategic partnership, which will see Intelivideo's fitness content integrated ...
Latest News
Nadine Dorries, the recently appointed secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport at ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Founder of dynamic yoga platform launches cinematic wellbeing classes for luxury spas and hotels
Matt Miller, founder of leading yoga training platform Broga has announced the launch of Earth+Sky – a collection of cinematic virtual wellbeing classes filmed in breath-taking locations around the world.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Pulse Fitness completes transformation of The Laura Trott Leisure Centre gym
The Laura Trott Leisure Centre has recently undergone a significant transformation thanks to recent investment from Broxbourne Council and its partnership with Pulse Fitness.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: FIBO Global Fitness
FIBO Global Fitness is the leading international trade show for fitness, wellness & health....
Company profiles
Company profile: Pendex Fisio S.L.
Pendex programmes are delivered using 12 smart training machines, the design of which correlates with ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
Technogym
Technogym