What Does the Data Tell Us About the Impact Covid-19 is Having on Physical Activity?

Under the latest Government guidance, daily exercise is one of the reasons we can leave home. And, it is more important than ever that people keep moving for both physical health and mental wellbeing.

However, the Covid-19 restrictions on travel and social contact mean we can no longer get active like we used to. Walking with friends, group activities, playing sports and going to the gym are all no longer possible.

With this tension between getting active and keeping within the restrictions, it is unclear whether people are being active enough. Have people adapted to exercise in lockdown?

Sport England are keen to understand just this. They have been working with Savanta ComRes to survey the nation and find out how coronavirus affects our physical activity. The results of the survey are updated weekly, so here we will just look at a snapshot.

One Month In People Have the Desire and Understand the Importance of Activity

According to the study, half of us report having found new ways to be active. A massive 59% of people have used walking as a form of physical activity in the last week. Plus, around 1 in 5 of us have been exploring home activity/fitness online.

It seems we have really positive attitudes to activity too. 62% think it is more important to be active at the moment.

Remote working and being furloughed looks like it is giving people the time they need to be active. 64% feel they have more time to be physically active. This time and focus on physical activity mean that 31% of people have managed to be more active.

Unfortunately, this is not the whole story.

New and Old Barriers Are Preventing Us from Being Active

60% of us are worried about leaving our homes to be active, and 43% of us do not enjoy exercising alone. As a result, 41% of people are less active than before the outbreak, and over half of those are a lot less active. This means that on average we are less active.

This is particularly true for certain segments of our population.

26% of people with a longstanding condition or illness are managing five+ days a week with 30 minutes exercise. This is compared to 36% of those without a longstanding condition or illness.

There is also an imbalance by race; 34% of white people achieved five+ days, but only 29% of non-white people achieved the same.

We Want to Help and Support You to Overcome Barriers to Being Physically Active

Despite the opportunity and good intentions, new worries and old barriers mean we are less active than before the pandemic.

To counter this trend, Active Devon has been creating a range of tools and resources to encourage and inspire people of all ages across Devon to be active. And, we are continuing to develop different ways to support you, your family and the wider communities.

We have already shared David’s, Lucy’s, Hannah’s and Louise’s experiences of keeping active. And now, we’d love to hear from you.

How are you remaining active and how are you adapting your exercise to fit the restrictions? Have you found any online exercises particularly useful? Is there something missing that you wish someone would cover?

The Join the Movement campaign is a great way to start chatting with us. You can share your story and experiences, including the highs and lows on @activedevon using the hashtag #StayInWorkOut

Or you can get in touch by sending us a message.

This article is written by Tim Howard – Data and Insight Officer at Active Devon

During these strange and challenging times, we believe that:

“Everybody should stay at home and follow the latest government advice, protecting the NHS and saving lives. However, it is also more important than ever that people keep moving, as physical activity is crucial to good health and mental wellbeing. Throughout this crisis, here at Active Devon we’re doing all we can to support you, your family and your community, so that you have the tools and resources to remain active whatever the situation.” #StayInWorkOut

*All data in this article was sourced from Sport England / Savanta ComRes: Survey into Adult Physical Activity Attitudes and Behaviour (April 2020).