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New research: Physical activity sank during Covid-19 restrictions

Twenty scientists from 14 countries warn of a hidden “pandemic within the pandemic“ in two publications.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 28, 2021 7:58:52 am
A group lift weights in a fitness class at Lift Society Friday, May 21, 2021, in Studio City, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

During the first lockdown, people were a good 40% less active, as shown by an international study led by Goethe University Frankfurt. Psychological well-being sank as well; the portion of people at potential risk for depression tripled, the study found.

Twenty scientists from 14 countries warn of a hidden “pandemic within the pandemic“ in two publications. One study, in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, describes how physical activity levels have gone down significantly. The other study, in Frontiers in Medicine, describes how psychological well-being has suffered.

About 15,000 people in participating countries answered standardised questionaires as part of an international survey. In April-May 2020, they reported physical activity levels (13,500 participants) as well as their mental and physical well-being (15,000 participants) before and during the pandemic-related restrictions.

More than two-thirds of those questioned were unable to maintain their usual level of activity. Moderate exercise decreased by an average of 41% according to self-reported data – this includes anything that increases heart rate and breathing, such as brisk walking, running, cycling or even strenuous gardening.

The proportion of vigorous exercise during which people sweat and clearly run out of breath fell by 42%. The effects were somewhat higher among professional athletes and particularly active people, as well as comparatively young and old people. The decline in activity was particularly noticeable among people over 70 years of age, who were 56-67% less active than before.

Source: Goethe University Frankfurt

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