You might think living in lockdown would inspire lethargy, but as restrictions start to lift across the UK, it seems the opposite has been true. A survey conducted by the outdoor brand Maier Sports (with a bit of help from us here at Active Traveller), suggests there’s been a big rise in people taking up new adventure activities during the coronavirus crisis.
Thirty percent of those surveyed said they had taken up a new outdoor sport while restrictions were at their strictest. Unlike in some European countries, exercise was allowed throughout that whole period, but with gyms shut, and football suspended, a lot of people who would have been playing conventional sports apparently spent the time discovering more adventurous alternatives.
Meanwhile, those of us who already enjoyed outdoor hobbies spent more time and money on them, according to the survey. 48 percent of people said they had bought new outdoor kit during lockdown (news that will come as no surprise to anyone who enjoys geeking out over new gear online as much as we do), and a whopping 79 percent of people said they were planning to buy new hiking, cycling or running kit in the near future.
Unsurprisingly, given the fears about the virus spreading on public transport, a lot of people are thinking of changing up how they commute, with 22 percent of respondents saying they’d cycle or walk to work in future.
Bike shops around the country have already reported a spike in sales, and in London, several major roads have been shut to car traffic to encourage more people onto their bikes.
All of this is great news for the outdoor industry, of course. But as outdoor enthusiasts, we also believe it’s great news for the country as a whole. Getting outside is great for people’s wellbeing, not just physically, but mentally as well.
As Stefan Taft, the marketing director at Maier Sports put it, “it’s good news for the industry, but more importantly, both the physical and mental health benefits are something we passionately believe in”.
The peace of mind we get from going outside, and the respite that can bring, is always welcome. But it’s arguably needed now more than ever. Long may the current boom in outdoor activities continue.