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Pandemic motivates Brits to improve physical health


Athletics legend Roger Black has back the BHF's bid to encourage the nation to do one good thing for their heart during Heart Month 

More than half of Brits (54%) are determined to get more physically active as a result of the Covid-19  pandemic, according to a British Heart Foundation (BHF) survey released to kick-off National Heart Month.  

The figures reveal the toll that repeated lockdowns have had on many people’s view of their health.  

Most respondents said they were more concerned about their physical (63%) and mental health (56%) because of the pandemic, and around half said they feel unhealthier (48%) as a result. Nearly half (46%) also said they’ve put on weight. 

But the survey suggests most people are keen to use the pandemic as a motivator for change:  

In response, the BHF, backed by Olympian Roger Black MBE, is using National Heart Month to encourage the public to do at least one thing to improve their heart health in February.  

The charity has launched a range of challenges - including MyCycle and My Step Challenge - to encourage people to make gradual improvements to their lifestyle while raising vital funds for its work.  

Black, who was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition aged 11, said: “During lockdown, many of us will be looking for new ways to boost our health while following the Government’s guidelines, which is why National Heart Month is the ideal time to start looking after your heart. You don’t have to run a marathon to keep fit - the BHF has a variety of virtual challenges such as MyCycle and My Step Challenge to help get you started, all of which you can do outside or from the comfort of your own homes.

“This February, I’m teaming up with the BHF to call on the nation to do at least one thing to improve their heart health while raising funds for the charity’s life saving research.” 

Despite the challenge of lockdown, four in ten (40%) people said they have managed to exercise more during the pandemic and one in three (34%) said they have eaten a healthier diet. This compares to a quarter who say they have done less exercise (25%) and eaten more unhealthily (25%).  

Barbara Kobson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “While some people have adopted healthier habits during lockdown, many others have found themselves concerned about their long term physical and mental health. National Heart Month is the perfect opportunity to make small changes to your lifestyle that could help make a big difference to your heart health. Small changes, such as moving more, cutting down on alcohol, and eating a more balanced diet can have a big impact. 

“Many people find setting a goal a great way to get motivated. If you need help getting started, challenges, such as MyCycle and My Step Challenge, are a fun and easy way to make some healthy changes and could raise vital funds for our life saving research.” 

MyCycle and My Step Challenge are virtual fundraising challenges from the BHF designed to motivate you to move more. Through MyCycle people can take on the challenge of riding 100, 200, 300 miles in a month, while My Step Challenge encourages people to walk 50,000, 100,00 or 500,000 miles in 4-6 weeks. 

Government advice recommends adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week.  Despite this, 37% of adults in the UK are not meeting the recommended physical activity requirements.  

The Roger Black Fitness online shop launches in Spring 2021 offering 'home fitness for everybody'. The range includes static and folding bikes and treadmills plus a cross trainer and rower. Roger Black Fitness small accessories and weights will be introduced later this year. Sign up for updates at  To find out more about the British Heart Foundation’s MyCycle or My Step Challenge visit the website.



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