Coronavirus: Adult physical activity falls by a quarter since lockdown

Average adult exerting themselves for 30 minutes less a day, according to poll

Rob Knight
Friday 08 May 2020 15:08 BST
Raab: 'Any lockdown changes will be modest and incremental'

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Louise Thomas

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Physical activity among adults has fallen by a quarter since the lockdown came into effect, according to a survey.

A poll of 2,000 adults found those a third had gained weight since restrictions were enforced to slow the spread of coronavirus, with an average gain of 6lbs.

The typical adult has gone from doing an average of two hours of physical activity a day prior to the restrictions to just one hour and 32 minutes during the lockdown, according to the survey.

Everything from a short walk to cleaning the home was counted as physical activity.

The poll, commissioned by Yorkshire Cancer Research, found 68 per cent of people were concerned about the impact doing little or no exercise might have on their health.

Dr Kathryn Scott, chief executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “There’s no denying there are fewer ways of exercising at the moment.

“And with millions of adults working from home or looking after school children, many of us will have no cause to leave our homes – often for days at a time.

“But being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight is so crucial to reducing the likelihood of developing cancer.

“It’s really important to exercise when possible – and where safe to do so.”​

Average daily step counts have dropped from 8,534 to 6,169, according to the poll.

For 37 per cent of adults, a lack of motivation is one of the key reasons for not exerting themselves more.

However, around four in 10 would like to do more exercise than they’re managing at the moment – but aren’t sure how to go about it.

Two-thirds said they had been more indulgent with food since the lockdown came into effect, while 43 per cent have consumed more alcohol.

The survey, carried out by OnePoll, found four in 10 weren’t aware that not being physically active could increase their risk of developing cancer.

The government has several recommendations when it comes to the amount of physical activity adults should manage during a typical week.

This includes at least 150 minutes of ‘moderate intensity activity’ or 75 minutes of ‘vigorous intensity activity’ – if already active.

Or shorter periods of ‘very vigorous activity’ – such as sprinting or weight exercises – or a combination of all of these.

Dr Kathryn Scott added: “We certainly share concerns about not being physically active and the impact this could have on health.

“What is reassuring though is that so many people are taking the health impacts seriously.

“We hope this increased awareness will serve as a motivation for being more active.”


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