A new report from Decathlon highlights how exercise habits across the UK have changed over the past year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown restrictions. The people of Scotland are most eager to discover new bike paths to get some exercise.
In its report The Year of Perseverance: How Britain Stayed Active During the Lockdown, the sporting goods retailer says online searches north of the border for local bike lanes and trails are up a whopping 220 percent year-over-year, compared to 138 percent a year ago England 94 percent in Wales.
The three main cities where the search for local bike paths has increased were all in England. Bournemouth topped the list with an increase of 218 percent, followed by Watford with 190 percent and Stockport with 186 percent.
The boom in bike sales since last spring when the ban was imposed is also reflected in Decathlon’s research. Searches for bikes online rose 263 percent in April and 421 percent in May.
“An activity that has already grown in popularity over the past decade, and travel restrictions. The pandemic has seen another surge in cycling,” the company said.
“With less traffic on the streets and government guidance on avoiding public transportation, a lot more people got on their bikes and took a ride.”
It added, “With restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, this trend is likely to continue.”
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There was also a lot of interest in finding new routes for walking as people wanted to get out of the house, Decathlon says. The online search for “walks near me” and “hiking routes” increased by 205 percent from March to November compared to the previous year.
As with finding local bike trails, the company states that the surge in search queries suggests people are looking for routes and places of interest they were previously unfamiliar with near where they lived, with forest and reservoir walks being particularly popular.
With the closure of gyms across England, Wales and Scotland, the report also highlighted the rise in the term “workout from home” as searches for home fitness equipment – including exercise bikes – rose 480 percent and 975 percent in March Cent in April.
Nicola Barnabo, Head of Fitness at Decathlon UK, said, “Although our stores were closed for much of 2020, increased interest in home fitness equipment resulted in a massive surge in online retail sales.
“At Decathlon UK, sales of home cardio equipment increased 189 percent over the previous year. Online treadmill sales grew a staggering 208 percent.
“Sales of cross-training and bodybuilding equipment, including dumbbells and kettlebells, grew an astonishing 338 percent!”
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