Two thirds of Brits now choose calming workouts for health and mental wellbeing

Published 01st Jul 2024 by Eve Oxberry

Wellness-focused fitness activities such as yoga are taking over from traditional workouts as Brits seek health and mental wellbeing benefits, according to new stats. 

While over a third (39%) of Brits engage in physical activity several times a week and 14% workout every day, two thirds now opt for low-intensity, calming workouts such as yoga or walking, with the main motivation being to ‘stay healthy’, found the research by YouGov, for digital magazine app Readly.

The mental and welling benefits of regular physical activity are high on the agenda of Brits, found the research of 2,000 adults. 

Top 5 reasons people exercise 

1. To stay healthy - 58%
2. To lose weight - 17%
3. For mental health reasons such a stress relief - 10%
4. To gain muscle - 5%
5. To meet other people - 2%

What are the most popular fitness workouts in the UK? 

Low-intensity, calming activities such as yoga, brisk walking or hiking are the top fitness practices among Brits, with 79% of women and 63% of men choosing these.

One in four people choose muscle-focused workouts such as weight lifting or high-intensity exercise such as running to raise the heart rate. 

Weight training is most popular among men, with 33% of men and 20% of women choosing  strength training. 

Meanwhile, 27% of men and 19% of women said high-intensity training is their fitness regime of choice.

However, only one in ten people are doing team sports with football, basketball, rugby or hockey being popular with 14% of men and just 6% of women.

What motivates people to workout?

While many are working out to relieve stress, other sources of stress relief they use include listening to music (66%), spending time with friends and family (52%), reading (50%), having sex (20%) and meditating (13%).

Friends and family are the main source of fitness inspiration with 35% of people saying they gain their workout inspiration from a friend or family member. 

Social media influencers inspire 21% of people, rising to 32% among 30-39-year olds, and 42% among 18-29-year-olds. However, a recent report showed that health and wellness influencers can often have a negative impact on mental health.

Readly UK managing director Ranj Begley said, “It’s interesting to see that people are opting for low-impact activities as they perhaps seek relaxation and mindfulness to deal with the demands of modern-day living. 

"Fitness and meditation are hot topics on our platform as people seek to be their best self and get fit and ready for summer, whilst taking a more all rounded, holistic approach to their wellbeing." 

Read more about the mental wellbeing benefits of spa therapies such as massage. 

Eve Oxberry

Eve Oxberry

Published 01st Jul 2024

Eve Oxberry is head of editorial for Professional Beauty and Aesthetic Medicine magazines and editor on PB. She oversees the company's print, web and social media content and writes reviews, news, features and more.

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