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People ‘still travelling less and exercising more than before Covid’

Trends in sleeping have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

09 August 2022

People are still travelling less and exercising more than they did before the pandemic, despite the scrapping of most Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year, new analysis suggests.

Working habits appear to have undergone a permanent change – though the amount of time spent sleeping and resting has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The way people use their time has been studied since 2014/15 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with the latest figures capturing behaviour in March 2022, when almost all the UK’s coronavirus rules had been lifted.

Adults spent an average of 52 minutes a day in March this year travelling, such as driving or walking, to places, the stats show.

This is up from 32 minutes in March 2021, when many Covid-19 restrictions were still in place, but well below the figure of 84 minutes in 2014/15.

Adults devoted an average of 25 minutes a day to keeping fit in March 2022 – down from 30 minutes a year earlier but longer than 19 minutes in 2014/15.

The amount of time adults said they spent sleeping and resting each day jumped by nearly half an hour at the start of the pandemic, from eight hours and 53 minutes to nine hours and 18 minutes.

But by March 2022, this had fallen back to eight hours and 51 minutes.

Changes in work patterns have held steady, however.

People in paid employment worked from home 79 minutes more per day in March 2022 than in 2014/15, compared with 88 minutes more in March 2021.

Gueorguie Vassilev of the ONS said: “It is interesting to see that some of the pandemic-related behaviour changes we saw last March, such as working from home or hybrid working, remain.

“Others have changed with the lifting of restrictions, such as travelling, although perhaps because of changes in working behaviours, we are travelling less than in 2014/15.”

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