Purpose: The COVID-19 global pandemic presented an insight into observing the changes in physical activity (PA) and sitting patterns of free-living adults during a unique period of intermittent enforced home confinement and free-living conditions. Evidence unequivocally indicates physical inactivity, facilitated by home confinement, is associated with greater risk of disease and mortality. This study aimed to monitor longitudinal PA and sitting patterns throughout the enforced COVID-19 restrictions, uniquely including all three UK national lockdowns between April 2020 and January 2021.
Methods: 580 adults (41 ±21 y; 22% ♂ / 77% ♀ / 1% Other) participated in a longitudinal, observational study, encompassing all three UK national lockdowns between 19/4/20 – 23/1/21, using self-reported online surveys either daily or weekly for 6 months, then monthly to reduce survey fatigue. Pre-COVID data was based on the week prior to the first national lockdown. Participants recalled time engaging in PA and sitting per day for each diary completed throughout the study. Data was used to calculate MET-mins/week for total, low, moderate and vigorous activity, then averaged for each month. Friedman’s ranking test analysed differences between months for PA and sitting time.
Results: Total, low, moderate and vigorous MET-mins/wk were significantly different across months (p < 0.001) and tended to decline month-on-month. PA levels were similar between lockdowns 2 and 3. Sitting time significantly increased (χ2(8) = 18, p = 0.02) across lockdowns 1-3, but decreased when restrictions were lifted.
Conclusions: To avert the negative health impacts of ‘twindemics’ linking future disease pandemics and the physical inactivity pandemic, strict movement restrictions should be carefully considered in future given our data shows increased physical inactivity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2023
EventAmerican College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting - Denver, United States
Duration: 30 May 20232 Jun 2023


ConferenceAmerican College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titleACSM 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
OtherACSM 2023 is expected to draw more than 6,000 sports medicine professionals for a full schedule of educational sessions, networking events and more. Attendees to ACSM have the opportunity to participate in educational sessions covering virtually every aspect of sports medicine, exercise science, and the benefits of physical activity.
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