Lockdown has affected us all differently, both physically and mentally. While some have taken the time to improve their fitness and diet, others have over-indulged on the alcohol and snacks. So as life slowly returns to a somewhat form of normality, it’s no surprise to find that, coming out of lockdown, the UK is the second fattest nation.

A Public Health England (PHE) study found that 63% of UK adults are overweight, and 28% of those are classed as obese. While we are all aware (or at least should be) of the many health implications of being overweight, the PHE study has found that being overweight can increase risk of coronavirus death by up to 40-90 percent, threatening a staggering two-thirds of our nation.

This fact has promoted the government to intervene and introduce the ‘Better Health’ campaign to help get the country back on its feet again – quite literally. With an expansion of NHS weight loss services and even GPs handing out “cycling prescriptions”, the government are finally determined to improve the health and welfare of our nation – it just took a global pandemic to realise it.

While Boris Johnson is renowned and often teased for his ‘Boris Bikes’, perhaps he’s finally on the right bike track. As we gradually return to work, it’s tempting to fall back into our normal routines and rituals and ignore the excess lockdown weight gain, but that isn’t going to solve the problem. By making even the slightest change to your usual routine, you can achieve great results. Rather than getting into the car, walking or cycling to work is a great way to make a positive change. As well as having physical benefits, the outdoor exercise will; boost mental health by increasing endorphins and getting more vitamin D; less traffic on the road will have a positive environmental impact; and less people on public transport means less risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

The issue with the ‘Better Health’ campaign is that campaigns are often short-lived, which subsequently means their effects are too. As soon as the novelty of biking to work wears off and the cold mornings roll in, most people will retreat behind the wheel again. This isn’t change, this is a fad – like every other diet or ‘get fit quick’ scheme. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the start of the journey, but maintaining it is the key.

This leads to another fault: accountability. Who is there to take the stabilisers off? The government implementing the plan? The doctor writing the prescription? Or the patient behind the pedals? This sadly is where the road will end for most people. After bicycles are prescribed, will doctors request follow-up appointments? Probably not. Will every patient listen to doctor’s orders? Definitely not! Sure, the government can monitor how many bikes are prescribed, but how will they know how many are actually put to use? The campaign is all talk and no walk – quite literally – and without regulation or regime, there is no accountability – which means no evidence of success.

At RNT, we teach commitment, discipline and accountability through five important phases and weekly check-ins with knowledgeable coaches, equipping our clients with the education, skills and support they need to, not only get in the shape of their life, but sustain it for life. This state of being transcends beyond the physical, as being in the best shape of your life has a domino effect on all other areas of your life. For instance, a better diet and healthier body increases energy levels, mental capacity and wellbeing. These elements then impact relationships and domestic and professional life, which then feed into other areas of your life, and so on. This is what we call the ‘why behind the why’ – gaining a deeper perspective on why you want to make these changes and understanding the many benefits beyond a superficial level.

So, what is the government’s ‘why behind their why’? For one, a physically healthier body results in a healthier immune system. So, while those overweight are more at risk of suffering with coronavirus, those that are active have stronger immune systems and are far more likely to fight it off, amongst other diseases. A healthier community then results in a healthier economy as this creates a stronger workforce, meaning greater productivity levels and less sick days, improving individual and collective financial gain – which, as we come out of lockdown and into an impending recession, is needed more than ever!

These multiple benefits can all stem from being physically fit, but are only really attainable if sustained. The ‘Better Health’ campaign is a great incentive that we back 100% and wonder why a scheme like this hasn’t been enforced sooner. While people are encouraged to get on the bike through the campaign, this isn’t enough. It’s not up to the government keep pedalling – that’s up to you. Taking short-cuts and quick-fix plans may lead to the destination quicker, but the return back is just as fast. The key is understanding why you got on the bike in the first place, which will help roadmap and fuel your journey for continued success.

Getting on the bike is just the start of the journey, but staying on it through the wind and the rain is the real difference that could transform your life.

Don’t just take our word for it, check out some of our case studies and see how they adopted our five phase journey and used the physical as the vehicle to transform their lives for the better.

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Tom Richardson

Tom Richardson is RNT’s Communications Manager. With an MA in Journalism and background in PR, Communications and Social Media Management, Tom takes care of all things content. It is his duty to communicate RNT’s mission through the creation of top-quality content and deliver the educational piece of the transformation puzzle to RNT’s clients.