Hula-hooping, trail-running and wild swimming is keeping Brits fit in 2020

A new survey, conducted by Huawei to mark the launch of the Watch Fit smart watch, has given some insight into the changes in the nation’s exercise habits this year, with a quarter (25%) of Brits stating that they tried a new sport in 2020, and many gravitating to more unusual activities, such as hula-hooping, trail running and wild swimming.

For Brits who have taken up a new sport this year, over a third (35%) said the reason for trying it was they were unable to do their regular activity due to lockdown restrictions in the UK, sparking the new trend for weird and wonderful ways to keep moving. 

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Despite the lockdown, 62% of those who kicked off a new exercise or sporting passion in 2020, have said they plan to keep up their new activity long term, suggesting there may be an on-going change in the sports we love as a nation and with gyms temporarily shut again, there is even more reason for Brits to try a new sport to help keep fit. 

As well as getting fitter and feeling healthier, Brits cite the top benefits of trying a new sport as having a positive impact on their mental health (39%), satisfaction at accomplishing something (26%), learning a new skill (24%) and meeting new people (17%).

James Alexander Ellis (@jamesalexanderellis), professional PT and fitness expert, advocates thinking outside the box to keep moving during lockdown 2.0, saying: 

“During lockdown, for lots of regular gym goers it’s been all about shifting the mindset that the gym isn’t everything and you can still workout at home or outside. It’s been refreshing to see people trying new ways of exercising for the first time, and personally I’ve really enjoyed fitting in more running and cycling. For most people the challenge has been about keeping motivated when you don’t have people around you in a gym environment, or a coach to keep you accountable. One thing that I’ve found has helped people stay on track is setting goals, beating them, and always doing more than you did the day before, and a smartwatch is a really handy tool to help track your progress.”

Anson Zhang, Managing Director of Huawei’s UK Consumer Business Group, said: 

“Smartwatch popularity has exploded this year and we see them becoming an essential everyday fitness tool for the masses, no matter if they are athlete or just enjoy occasional, gentle exercise. We’ve created the Watch Fit to be the perfect device for those looking to start their fitness journey. It features an animated avatar that acts like a personal trainer, setting workouts and demonstrating poses for activities like yoga, so can do much more than simply tracking your exercise or health data. It also has a 10-day battery life and 96 different workout modes so it’s perfect for those trying a new sport this year.” 

 Another trend that seems to have captured the imagination of the UK is home workouts. Perhaps inspired by Joe Wicks, the nation’s favourite PE teacher, nearly a third of Brits (29%) tried working out at home for first time ever this year, whilst nearly one in 10 of us (8%) got creative and took to our stairs to try and stay active. 

The change in our workout behaviour has led to a high demand for virtual personal training and measuring exercise success, with 25% of those surveyed stating they own a smartwatch and use it to support their workouts, and a further 23% planning to invest in one before the year is out. 

Reasons for getting one include getting an extra motivation from seeing your progress (25%), beating your personal best (21%) and getting a complete holistic view of all health factors, including exercise, sleep and stats like heartrate or blood pressure. 

The Huawei Watch Fit is the latest addition to Huawei’s award-winning range of smartwatches. With a sleek, premium design, advanced sports tracking, professional health monitoring, long-lasting battery life and wireless charging, the new Huawei Watch is suitable for pro athletes and casual gym goers alike. Huawei Watch Fit is Huawei's first smartwatch to support an animated personal trainer covering 12 workout courses including 44 posture demonstrations. The individually animated fitness courses give users free one-on-one personal training without the need for a smartphone or any other device. The Huawei Watch Fit also has an impressive 10-day battery life, with a single five-minute charge enough to power you through a day. The Huawei Watch Fit is now available from the Huawei store at £119.99 RRP (currently on offer for £89.99). 

Top 15 lockdown sports/activities that Brits have tried for the first time this year are: 

  1. Stair Climbing - 8% 
  2. Hiking - 7% 
  3. Open Water / wild swimming - 6% 
  4. Trail running - 6% 
  5. Frisbee - 6% 
  6. Triathlon - 5% 
  7. Martial Arts - 5% 
  8. Tai Chi - 5% 
  9. Hula Hoop - 5% 
  10. Archery - 5% 
  11. Kite Flying - 5% 
  12. Skateboarding - 5% 
  13. Parkour - 5% 
  14. Orienteering - 5% 
  15. Rock Climbing - 4%