How to: reap your lockdown cycling gains

They may have scuppered our racing and holiday plans but lockdowns have proved to be an unprecedented boon for our fitness – as Ian Green finds out

Chrissie Slot (Daniel Gould)

One year ago, as it became clear that the arrival of Covid-19 meant an imminent national lockdown, most of us were more concerned about our health than our fitness. Being cyclists, though, we guessed that our pedalling habit would help keep us well – and thankfully the government agreed, making provision for daily exercise. Nonetheless, it was impossible to foresee how long the lockdown would last or what impact it would have on our fitness, particularly for those of us with performance-related targets. Now, one year on, the picture is taking shape, and it’s throwing up some big surprises – for many of us, lockdown-related changes have, far from impeding our progress, actually brought about major fitness gains.

Dr Mark Elliott, associate professor in digital healthcare at the University of Warwick, has studied the effects on a sample of the UK population and found that different groups were affected in very different ways. For example, people living in rural locations were more likely to report an increase in exercise levels during lockdown than those in urban centres, while already-inactive people tended to do less than ever. 

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.