We've all been staying home a lot more last year thanks to the ongoing global health crisis, and the beginning of this year is shaping up to be very much the same. Even with a vaccine on the horizon, many areas are still under tight local restrictions, as governments across the world continue to battle the virus.
However, because we're stuck at home, many of us are actually working out now more than ever, according to a new study by a sports and nutrition brand.
Bulk (opens in new tab) polled its users in Britain and found 38% move more now than they did before the lockdowns of last year. What's more, a huge 76% said working out vastly helped their mental health during lockdown.
Improved mental health was rated as a "key reason" to exercise, and half of the respondents also said they think more positively about working out after lockdown.
It's well documented exercise promotes the release of serotonin, otherwise known as the brain's "happy hormone" and decreases the release of cortisol, a hormone which induces feelings of stress and encourages the body to store fat.
Exercises like running also get you outside and often into parks, which can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression according to the University of Essex (opens in new tab).
If you're working out on your own, without the aid of a gym or personal trainer, you could do a lot worse than try one of our best online personal trainer or fitness apps – especially if you're just starting your fitness journey for the first time this year.
These apps and online services, like Fiit, Centr and MyFitnessPal, provide dietary and exercise guidance (along with expert health resources like this website). This, in turn, will help better your mental health, especially if you combine it with positive practices like journaling and meditation.
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If you're just starting on your weight loss journey and you're yearning for a bit of professional guidance, but you can't get to the gym due to lockdown, these resources can provide structured programmes tailored to your needs.
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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.
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