Background: The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, resulted in enforced ‘lockdown’ restrictive measures. Negative effects upon health promoting behaviours (physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour (SB)) are likely. A body mass index (BMI) ≥25 kg/m² has been associated with severe COVID-19 symptoms, research analysing the lockdown’s impact within this population is limited. This study aims to investigate this contemporary area of research.
Purpose: Assess the effects of the first COVID-19 lockdown upon PA and SB amongst English adults with a BMI ≥25 kg/m².
Methods: Based on an online survey (n=818) incorporating the International Physical Acitvity Questionnaire Short From (IPAQ-SF), data from 376 participants with BMI≥25 kg/m² were analysed for self-reported daily walking time, weekday and weekend-day sitting time. Descriptive statistics and a contingency table using Pearson’s-Chi square/Fishers exact test was carried out.
Results: Daily walking time, X2= 281.6 and p<0.01, 42% increased, 21% decreased. Weekday sitting time, X2= 216.9 and p<0.01, 43% increased, 16% decreased. Weekend-day sitting time, X2=322.1 and p<0.01, 41% increased, 7% decreased. Large increases in sitting >10 hours/day (weekday, 105%; weekend-day, 194%).
Conclusion: The first COVID-19 lockdown increased both PA (daily walking time) and SB (weekday and weekend-day sitting time) amongst UK adults with a BMI ≥25 kg/m2 concurring with other studies from different countries.

Further analysis of the BMI categories showed that the obese category showed a 37% increase in daily walking time and the morbidly obese category showed a 33% increase in daily walking time, however 38% of the morbidly obese decreased their walking time.

Regarding self-reported weekday sitting time, 43% of the overall cohort increased and 16% deceased. Specific to weekday sitting time, 105% increased sitting time >10 hours/day and at weekend-days there was a 194% increase.
Distinguishing sitting time between weekdays and weekend-days is not well documented within current literature, however, the overall conclusion within this present study is that the COVID-19 lockdown has negatively influenced daily sitting time. It is widely accepted that sitting is a SB associated with all-cause mortality (impartial to PA), due to its dangerous impact upon metabolic and cardiovascular health.

The increase in sitting time >10 hours/day for both weekday and weekend-days within the present study, shows the sobering negative effect the first COVID-19 lockdown has had upon SB amongst UK adults with a BMI ≥25 kg/m2.
With this increase in both PA and SB this change in behaviour has been termed the ‘active couch potato’.

Key Words: Physical activity; Sedentary behaviour; COVID-19 lockdown; BMI ≥25 kg/m2.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean College of Sport Science (ECSS)
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2022
Event27th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS): 2022 ECSS congress - Seville, Sevilla, Spain
Duration: 31 Aug 20222 Sept 2022


Conference27th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS)
OtherTheme: “Sport Science in the Heart of Arts”
Internet address


  • Physical activity; Sedentary behaviour; COVID-19 lockdown; BMI ≥25 kg/m2.


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