Fitness: How COVID-19 has changed our workout habits

Has your lunch break become a "crunch break"? A new study shows how our fitness habits have changed

Yoga workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you been working out online during the COVID-19 pandemic? Whether you're following along with a workout on YouTube (perhaps one of ours, like this arms and abs workout), or you're working with a personal trainer on zoom, online exercise programmes have never been more popular thanks to the persistent global health crisis.

Although a coronavirus vaccine is on the horizon, it looks likely virtual workouts are here to stay, mainly because they work so well when it comes to working from home. 

According to a study conducted by fitness class experts ClassPass, lunchtime workouts have seen a 67% increase in popularity. Thanks to a rise in remote work (and virtual meetings, which don't always required showering), the 12pm weekday time slot for classes, whether remote or in-person, is said to be more popular now than ever before.

The term "crunch break" has been coined for 12pm-1pm classes, but it's more than just a convenient desk break: it might help you be more productive. A report from Birmingham University found a short amount of exercise, done immediately after learning, led to better cognitive memory results among women, as opposed to doing a sedentary activity. 


Weight loss

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Yoga was found to be the most popular remote workout, increasing by 25% as we switched from in-person to online only classes. It's no surprise: due to the stress of the pandemic, yoga, which is shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and even chronic pain, is a great avenue for relaxation in a stressful situation.

Below, you'll be able to see the top different kinds of workouts ClassPass members in the UK are taking part in. With over 5,000 fitness studios counted, this is a great cross-section of the UK's remote workout scene:

  1. Yoga
  2. HIIT
  3. Pilates
  4. Strength training
  5. Barre
  6. Dancing
  7. Stretching
  8. Boxing

If you're not sure where to get started when it comes to remote workouts, our Fit&Well TV page has loads of multimedia fitness content, including home workouts like the yoga flow below and inspiring real life weight loss stories.  

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.