A pandemic within the pandemic? Physical activity levels substantially decreased in countries affected by COVID-19

  • Governments have restricted public life during the COVID-19 pandemic, inter alia closing sports facilities and gyms. As regular exercise is essential for health, this study examined the effect of pandemic-related confinements on physical activity (PA) levels. A multinational survey was performed in 14 countries. Times spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) as well as in vigorous physical activity only (VPA) were assessed using the Nordic Physical Activity Questionnaire (short form). Data were obtained for leisure and occupational PA pre- and during restrictions. Compliance with PA guidelines was calculated based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). In total, n = 13,503 respondents (39 ± 15 years, 59% females) were surveyed. Compared to pre-restrictions, overall self-reported PA declined by 41% (MVPA) and 42.2% (VPA). Reductions were higher for occupational vs. leisure time, young and old vs. middle-aged persons, previously more active vs. less active individuals, but similar between men and women. Compared to pre-pandemic, compliance with WHO guidelines decreased from 80.9% (95% CI: 80.3–81.7) to 62.5% (95% CI: 61.6–63.3). Results suggest PA levels have substantially decreased globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key stakeholders should consider strategies to mitigate loss in PA in order to preserve health during the pandemic.
Author:Jan WilkeORCiDGND, Lisa MohrORCiD, Adam S. TenfordeORCiD, Pascal EdouardORCiD, Chiara FossatiORCiD, Marcela González-GrossORCiD, Celso Sánchez RamírezORCiD, Fernando LaiñoORCiD, Benedict TanORCiD, Julian David PillayORCiD, Fabio PigozziORCiD, David Jimenez-PavonORCiD, Bernhard NovakORCiD, Johannes JaunigORCiD, Mandy Zhang, Mireille van PoppelORCiD, Christoph HeidtORCiD, Steffen WillwacherORCiDGND, Gustavo YukiORCiD, Daniel E. Lieberman, Lutz VogtGND, Evert VerhagenORCiD, Luiz HespanholORCiD, Karsten Peter HollanderORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):International journal of environmental research and public health
Publisher:MDPI AG
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/02/24
Date of first Publication:2021/02/24
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/05/19
Tag:coronavirus; exercise; guidelines; health
Issue:5, art. 2235
Page Number:11
First Page:1
Last Page:11
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 79 Sport, Spiele, Unterhaltung / 790 Freizeitgestaltung, darstellende Künste, Sport
Open-Access-Publikationsfonds:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0