University of Hertfordshire

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By the same authors

Physical activity and sitting time changes in response to COVID-19 home confinement in England

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2021
EventBases 2021 Conference - Online
Duration: 16 Nov 202118 Nov 2021


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the first England national COVID-19 lockdown on physical activity and sitting. With institutional ethical approval, cross-sectional data were collected from 818 adults aged 46 ± 13 years (n=641 females) who responded to an online survey between 29 April and 13 May 2020. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form (IPAQ-SF) was used for participants to self-report physical activity and sitting time during a typical week before and during the lockdown. Metabolic equivalent minutes per week (MET-min/week) were calculated and participants were classified as engaging in low, moderate or high physical activity levels according to IPAQ scoring guidelines. Participants were also grouped into high (< 8 hours/day) and low (≥ 8 hours/day) sitting time. Paired samples t-tests compared walking, moderate-intensity, vigorous-intensity and total physical activity MET-min/week before and during lockdown. X2 tests were used to explore differences in the proportion of participants engaging in low, moderate and high physical activity and high and low sitting before and during lockdown. Walking and total physical activity levels significantly increased during lockdown by 241 (95% confidence interval 176, 304) MET-min/week and 302 (155, 457) MET-min/week, respectively (P < 0.001). Moderate (16 [-34, 63] MET-min/week, P = 0.50) and vigorous physical activity (44 [-49, 139] MET-min/week, P = 0.35) during lockdown was not significantly different compared with before lockdown. The proportion of participants in the low (n = 205 and 170), moderate (n = 329 and 335) and high (n = 256 and 285) physical activity categories differed significantly before and during lockdown, respectively (P < 0.001). The proportion of participants engaging in high sitting time on a week day was significantly different during lockdown compared with before (P < 0.001). Of the sample, 53% self-reported low sitting both before and during lockdown, whereas 22% reported high sitting at both time points. Nineteen percent changed from low sitting before lockdown to high sitting during, whereas 6% changed from high sitting to low sitting. These findings suggest that physical activity levels in England increased as a result of the first COVID-19 lockdown. However, there was a simultaneous increase in sitting time. Intervention strategies to mitigate increases in sitting may thus be needed during home confinement. Home confinement restrictions leading to increases in physical activity should also be explored to inform future interventions.

ID: 26998252