Return to work creates exercise boom for least active

We wanted to understand how the exercise habits of people who were forced to work remotely during the pandemic were affected by their return to full-time work in the office.

To do this, we asked 2,494 people who worked remotely during the pandemic about their exercise habits before and after returning to work.

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Key findings:

The return to full-time office work after being forced to work remotely during the pandemic has resulted in:

• 59.52% of non-exercisers have been actively exercising an average of 2.64 times a week since returning to work

• People, who Trained 1-2 times / week have increased training frequency by 125.93%

• People, who trained up to 3x / week have increased training frequency by 38.57%

• People, who Trained 4+ times / week have reduced training frequency by 14.16%

Respondents returning to full-time reported how this pandemic-related event affected their training frequency.

For this study we defined several groups depending on their weekly training frequency:

• Low frequency: 1-2 times / week

• Moderate frequency: up to 3 times / week

• High frequency: 4+ times / week

This “return to work” event has sparked an exercise boom among those who have exercised the least. Those who exercised up to 2 times a week increased their exercise frequency by 125.93%, from 0.98 times a week to 2.22 times a week.

The medium frequency group increased their exercise frequency by 38.57%, from 1.86 times to 2.58 times per week.

The only people who maintained high levels of exercise frequency while working remotely during the pandemic were negatively affected by “return to work”. They’ve seen a 14.16% decrease, from 5.23 times a week to 4.49 times a week, since returning to the office full-time.

Of those surveyed who did not actively exercise while working remotely, 59.52% said they are now actively exercising. This group of respondents who have started exercising full-time since returning to the office now exercise an average of 2.64 times a week.

While 3.91% of those who exercised before returning to work have now stopped exercising altogether.

Changes in runners’ exercise habits

Running was a major fitness trend during the pandemic as it was one of the easiest ways to be active when other options like gyms or team sports were no longer possible during the pandemic.

If we look at the frequency of runners training, we can see that they are following many of the same trends. Runners in the low frequency group saw a 150.88% increase in exercise frequency, while those in the medium frequency group saw a 40.74% increase.

Again, the only group that saw a decrease in physical activity was the high-frequency group, which has decreased 8.71% since returning to the office full-time.


The pandemic-related event of returning to full-time work in the office signals a return to normalcy. It brings with it a familiar structure, routine and lifestyle for many.

All of this appeared to have resulted in a significant increase in training rates for the remote workers, who were the least active during the pandemic. Although there was a decline in those who exercised the most, it means that significantly more people have reaped the benefits of exercise since they returned to work.

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