This time of forced isolation just might lay the foundation for healthier lifestyle habits. In the wake of state-wide shutdowns of businesses and schools, Americans find themselves with the opportunity to focus inward on their health.  How will everyday life be redefined by new behaviors as states begin to re-open?

The “Quarantine 15” myth

Memes on weight gain during social distancing abound, but more Americans actually say they are healthier than before.  Over one-third (36%) of Americans say they have developed more healthy lifestyle habits, while only 22% who say their lifestyle has become less healthy. This is even more pronounced for Americans living in cities, with 44% saying they have developed more healthy lifestyle habits during quarantine.

The majority (59%) of Americans report getting weekly exercise into their new routines. Most Americans are hitting moderate goals: 22% are exercising 1-5 hours a week and 14% are getting 6-10 hours.

Quarantine fatigue and bravado

 As states begin to lift restrictions put in place to slow the coronavirus outbreak, Americans are ready to re-enter society. Our research found nearly a quarter of Americans (22%) say they feel more comfortable about being in crowds than a month ago. Despite their higher risk of complications from COVID-19, men are nearly twice as likely (29%) as women (16%) to say they are more comfortable in crowds now. In addition, there are some generational differences, with close to one-third (32%) of Millennials saying they’re more comfortable being in crowds compared to their younger Gen Z (24%)  and older Gen X (20%) and Boomer (13%) cohorts.

Re-entering society will no doubt be different than life before COVID-19, as our data suggests Americans are preparing for social distancing measures to remain part of everyday life.  Almost 9 in 10 (88%) Americans are taking at least some social distancing measures, primarily by avoiding restaurants (63%), large gatherings of 10 or more (57%) and movie theaters (55%).

When they do venture out, most Americans (89%) are wearing masks as recommended, with the majority saying they wear masks frequently (69%). There are notable differences by generation when it comes to mask wearingOnly about half (54%) of Gen Z Americans report wearing masks frequently out in public, compared to three in four (75%) Boomers.


This article is part of a series of articles examining the impact of COVID-19. To learn more about market research solutions, contact Wakefield Research here