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25 August 2020

England sports ace prescribes exercise for new Mums battling comparison culture and lockdown loneliness 

  • 82% of new mums believe that being able to exercise would help them feel happier or more confident
  • 65% would like to exercise more but don’t know how to do so with a new baby
  • 62% feel cut off from their usual family support system due to lockdown
  • 91% haven’t had time to themselves 
  • 93% of new mums compare themselves to other mums
  • To support new mums, Vitality ambassador Tracey Neville is launching the Baby to Baller Series – a free six-week video series based around netball skills to help new mums get active

Tuesday 25th August: Becoming a parent is life-changing at the best of times. Now, a first of its kind study by health and life insurer Vitality has revealed the damaging impact of Covid-19 lockdown on new mums.

The study, released today, questioned 1,000 mothers of babies aged 0-12 months old to analyse the pressures faced by new mums and the exacerbated effects of lockdown. It found 62% of new mothers have felt ‘cut off’ from support networks and 93% have fallen victim to ‘comparison culture’ – leaving 36% of these mums questioning their own parenting abilities and 38% feeling as though they could be a better mum. 

Overwhelmingly, new mums pointed to exercise as a potential antidote, with more than four-fifths (82%) believing that regular exercise would help them feel happier or more confident. However, over one in four (26%) of the mums surveyed are put off exercise due to worrying about what people will think of them if they are not seen to be spending enough time with their baby. And if this wasn’t enough – 65% of new mums said they would like to exercise more but aren’t sure how to do so with a new baby, demonstrating a need for more help and advice.

Lockdown has also practically impacted new mums’ opportunities for physical exercise. Half (51%) are unable to leave their baby with a friend or family member, while 43% would rather stay indoors to reduce the risk of exposure to either their baby or themselves.

To help mums get back in to exercise safely, Vitality has launched its Baby to Baller Series, a free, six week exercise programme created especially for new mums by Vitality ambassador, former England Netball coach, and new mum, Tracey Neville.

The social-media based video series will go live today on @Vitality_uk Instagram and Facebook and is based around netball - a game that most mums, whatever their ability will be familiar with. 

With simple workouts designed to suit post-partum bodies, the Baby to Baller Series addresses the barriers that new mums face as identified through the research. Workouts can be undertaken at home, with baby nearby, any time of the day – and what's more, new mums taking part are set to receive encouragement from Tracey and some other well-known sporting faces. Whilst the series uses a netball, any similar ball can actually be used and no prior netball experience or level of skill is needed, making it as accessible to as many mums as possible.  

Vitality Ambassador, Tracey Neville comments, 
“As a new mum, I understand and identify with those feelings of loneliness, exhaustion and overwhelm that can make it so hard to find the motivation to get moving again after a baby – even more so during the pandemic. I hope that by sharing my own journey back to being active through this new Vitality Series, new mums everywhere will feel reassured that they can feel strong and confident again – both mentally and physically while also rediscovering a love of netball!”

Nick Read, Director of the Vitality Programme said,
“All of us have a role to play in supporting mums to know that it’s okay and prioritise their own wellbeing, just as they would other things in their lives. Our research has shown that new mums in particular find it hard to take those first steps to get moving so we've created the Baby to Baller Series to give mums reassurance and help them to feel good about doing one of the hardest jobs there is. At Vitality, our mission is to help people to live healthier and more active lives, and this programme will help to motivate new mums to take those small steps to being active that can improve mental and physical wellbeing over the long-term.”


Notes to editors


Opinium Research conducted an online survey of 1,000 mothers with children under the age of one between 11th August- 20th August 2020. All research included in this media release is from the Opinium Research.