Covid-19 lockdown was the cause of 'unprecedented' decline in physical activity, reveals survey

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22nd October 2020 16:59 - Sport, Leisure and Tourism

Covid-19 lockdown was the cause of 'unprecedented' decline in physical activity:The annual Active Lives survey by Sports England has found that between the middle of March this year and May, there were 'unprecedented' falls in the amount of physical activity undertaken in England, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the country going into lockdown. 

The annual research polled 190,000 people between May 2019 and May 2020 and found that almost 12 million adults in England were 'inactive' undertaking fewer than half an hour of exercise a week during the first two months of lockdown. The number of people who did less than 30 minutes of activity per day increased by 7.4% rising by 3.4 million to a 11.8 million

During the period of mid-March to mid-May, the proportion of people achieving the chief medical officer's recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week fell by 7.1% - equivalent to just over 3 million people. 

It wasn't all bad news, however, with increasing numbers of people turning to cycling, home fitness and running to keep fit during lockdown. Cycling saw a 2.5% rise - with 1.2million people taking up the activity, while 731,000 took to the streets to partake in jogging or running. However, the report acknowledges that this was countered by the fall in those running indoors on treadmills at the gym. 

Digital exercise classes such as fitness coach and TV presenter, Joe Wicks' contribution, saw an increase of 2.1 million, which Sport England found was largely driven by women. This also accounted for why women had a smaller fall in overall activity levels.

Sport England chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth said: Though the early months of lockdown brought unprecedented disruption to our lives and had a huge impact on our overall engagement in sport and physical activity, it is also positive to see how many people turned to new activities like cycling, fitness at home and running."

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