Exercising in times of lockdown: An analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on levels and patterns of exercise among adults in Belgium

Countries all over the world implemented lockdowns to counteract COVID-19. These lockdowns heavily limited people`s exercise possibilities. At the same time, experts advocated to remain physically active to prevent future health problems. Based on an online survey, this study examines adults` exercise levels and patterns during the COVID-19 lockdown in Belgium. Ordinal logistic regression analyses of 13,515 valid and population-weighted responses indicate a general increase in exercise frequencies, as well as in sedentary behavior. Except for people aged 55+, previously low active adults self-reported to exercise more during the lockdown. Among the people who were already high active before COVID-19, those above 55 years old, those with low education, those used to exercise with friends or in a sport club, and those who were not using online tools to exercise, self-reported to exercise less during the lockdown. Having less time, sitting more, and missing the familiar way and competitive element of exercising were the main reasons for a self-reported exercise reduction. Given the health risks associated with physical inactivity, results imply that governments should consider how those who were not reached can be encouraged to exercise during a lockdown. After all, additional COVID-19 lockdowns might be implemented in the future.
© Copyright 2020 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. MDPI. All rights reserved.

Subjects: Belgium health society activity way of life adults
Notations: social sciences
Tagging: Coronavirus COVID-19
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17114144
Published in: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Published: 2020
Edition: 10. Juni 2020
Volume: 17
Issue: 11
Pages: 4144
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: intermediate