World Athletics has launched a new fitness campaign, "Fitter with Friends",as part of its four-year strategy ©World Athletics

World Athletics has launched a six-week global campaign, "Fitter With Friends", to help runners around the world stay motivated during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its initiative focuses on health and exercise routines in a bid to keep new fitness fanatics involved in athletics after the pandemic subsides.

Research conducted by found that in the early stages of lockdown, 88 per cent of people who normally exercised once or twice a week had increased their exercise routine.

More than 12,000 people from 139 countries participated in the survey.

Those who run once or twice a week more than doubled their efforts on average, with a workload boost of 117 per cent.

World Athletics' programme is due to run from June 25 until the end of July with six of the world's best athletes taking part in the weekly challenge.

Those who are to take part in the programme have not yet been named, but is set to include Olympic, world and continental champions from six different continents.

Every week a different athlete will share a fitness challenge to complete by video, while lending their knowledge and workouts that can help everyone improve their fitness.

World Athletics have claimed: "Six weeks, six challenges, six athletes - it's that simple."

It comes during a period where many nations are starting to ease lockdown restrictions, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the campaign's name encouraging people to train, while socially distancing, with friends.

To date, there are more than 8.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in the deaths of over 456,000 people.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, recently spoke ahead of the campaign's launch of the governing body's duty to the public. 

"We need to inspire these people to continue the habits they have learned and we will with our own campaigns but also by embracing campaigns that many others in our sport are driving," he said.

It is part of a four-year strategic plan laid out by World Athletics which aims to grow its broadcast reach, boost its fan base and increase its digital following.