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British Government Urged to Launch National Get-Fit Scheme “Work Out to Help Out” as Devastating Health Effects of Lockdowns Become Clearer

The British Government has been urged to launch “Work Out to Help Out” get-fit scheme after it was revealed that many had gained weight during the extended lockdowns over the winter.

Now as the adverse health effects of extended social distancing and lockdowns are becoming an increasing matter of concern, a group in the UK is calling for the government to launch a new national scheme to incentivise exercise.

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For the past eighteen months, most of the coverage of the negative effects of the pandemic, beyond the disease itself, has centred on the economic effects of the lockdowns. Now, however, the adverse health effects of extended social distancing and lockdowns are becoming an increasing matter of concern, and a bipartisan group in the UK is calling for the government to launch a new national scheme to incentivise exercise.

Work Out to help Out Get Fit Scheme

The cross-party DCMS Committee has called for a ‘Work Out to Help Out’ scheme, following on from the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme which aimed to help the hospitality industry using vouchers for money off food. The recommendation is part of a broader report entitled ‘Sport in our Communities’ which is being released this week.

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In particular, the report highlights the health costs of extended lockdowns on individual physical health, pointing with especial concern to new data that show 100,000 fewer children met the recommended level of activity in 2020 than in 2019.

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The DCMS report also highlights the devastating effects on grassroots sport in the UK.

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said: “This last 18 months has left the already perilous finances of grassroots sport in tatters.

“Community sports clubs nurture Olympic medallists and bring joy to people young and old, we cannot let them go to the wall. That is why delays to support schemes such as the Community Ownership Fund are so disappointing and unhelpful.

“Today we’ve made recommendations to the Government on how to better protect the spaces we exercise in and put grassroots sport and activity on a more sustainable financial footing.

“The Government must also play its part in getting people active again following the pandemic or risk consequences for public health in the future.”

Weight gain, of course, goes hand in hand with inactivity, and last week we reported that a new survey from the UK showed that 40% of all adults have gained weight during the pandemic, with an average weight gain amounting to 3kg, or half a stone. In that article we wrote:

“The pandemic has brought serious changes to most people’s lives, with many working and eating at home in a way they had never done before. Restricted access to almost all exercise facilities has thrown most people back on their own initiative to find means of exercise. Since the beginning of the crisis, experts have been warning that prolonged social-distancing measures would make obesity worse, and studies have shown significant drops in physical activity levels, especially among men and children.”

The situation appears to be even worse in the US, where a poll showed that a shocking 48% of millennials gained an average of 41lb over the course of the 2020 lockdowns.

Even before the pandemic, Healthline had dubbed millennials ‘the most obese generation,’ a title they are unlikely now to relinquish.

By contrast, Generation Z – the ‘zoomers’ – have the dubious title, or at least the men do, of having the lowest testosterone levels in history, if a shocking new study is to be believed.

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