The current circumstances have created a new generation of hikers, with a rapidly growing number of people in the UK embracing the great outdoors and enjoying what the country has to offer.
According to a survey undertaken by Mintel, the percentage of people in the UK who identify themselves as hikers has increased from 16 per cent in 2018 to 23 per cent in 2020.
Most interestingly, whilst the most likely demographic to participate in Scottish hiking tours is still aged between 55 and 64, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of people aged 16-24 have donned their walking boots and embraced the bracing walk.
Part of this is a result of how the current circumstances have changed how we live and how we exercise. With gyms being closed in many areas, other forms of exercise have been adopted that can be taken up at home or in nearby parks and woodland areas.
The same survey also noted the increased popularity in cycling, again particularly amongst the young, as well as an increase in yoga.
An Increase In Outdoor Exercise
Outdoor exercises have been allowed in both national lockdowns, and in the early stages of the pandemic were one of the few justified reasons to go outside.
Exercises that take place outdoors were also seen as safer than indoor exercises outside of the home, so long as social distancing rules were kept.
This explains, in particular, the increased numbers of younger people taking up hiking, as they were proportionately more likely to participate in sports or work out at gyms; both organised sports and gyms had been closed during the lockdown.
Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of people aged 16-24 exercised at home and found it more difficult to stay active during the restrictions.
By contrast, over half of those surveyed aged 55-64 found it easy to exercise during these restrictions, and many younger people joined them with rambles and hikes. Others would use online workouts or replicate gym exercises at home.
The main difference with the second lockdown compared to the first is that not only is there no longer a “once per day” limitation, but also you can walk with one person from another household, allowing it to become more of a social activity once again.
As well as this, the experience of the first lockdown has revitalised fitness goals that may have fallen to the wayside as a result of returning to more normal habits. It remains to be seen if this happens again once the national lockdown is lifted.
Another consideration, beyond exercising near your home is the increase in popularity of the staycation.
With travel restrictions likely to affect international travel even after the national lockdown restrictions are lifted, many people are turning to the beautiful sights and trails available in the UK.
Being closer to nature is becoming increasingly important to the health-conscious, as being connected to the environments we live in is beneficial not only to our physical health but our mental health.