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Are you more or less physically active since Covid restrictions?


I received an update that the earliest health clubs would be open will be 12/4/21 and exercise classes 17/5/21. This is as long as Covid cases continue to drop. It looks like we still need to find alternative ways of staying fit and healthy if we used to use health club facilities to help stay active.


Some people may have never stepped foot in a health club in their lives and so the date clubs open won't make a difference but it does make me wonder whether people are more or less physically active than before the Covid-19 restrictions began.


Some people may have more time to be more physically active so it makes sense that overall people would not necessarily be less active. A study in Belgium (Constandt, Thibaut and De Bosscher et al, 2020) reported that 36% of previously high active people exercised more during lockdown restrictions compared to 58% of previously low active people. 23% of previously high active people reported exercising less compared to 7% of previously low active people. Participants who did not exercise with family or partners and who did not use online resources to maintain exercise levels were more likely not to be in the high active group of participants. This reminded me of when I studied the effect of exercise on quality of life, and if it is so beneficial what factors could help people adopt an active lifestyle.


Having social support, (having a friend to join you) is one of those factors that is likely to have an influence on whether people adopt and maintain a healthy style. It is also having social support that may help us to benefit from the mental health benefits of physical activity. It is no surprise that when our social support systems are affected then so too would be our levels of physical activity and also our mental health. Of course the wrong social support could have a negative effect so we have to consider recruiting the right friend to join us in our healthy lifestyle journey.


So my question is, Are you more or less active than before the restrictions? If you are more active then I congratulate you and encourage you to keep going. If you are less active but want to be more active how about asking a friend or family member to join you for a socially distanced walk or join you online for an exercise class?


Constandt, B., Thibaut, E., De Bosscher, V., Scheerder, J., Ricour, M., & Willem, A. (2020). Exercising in Times of Lockdown: An Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19 on Levels and Patterns of Exercise among Adults in Belgium. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114144

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