How the Pandemic Has Changed Our Exercise Habits in (Sometimes) Positive Ways

American Physiological Society (APS)

Research Alert

The health disruptions caused by COVID-19 reverberate even beyond those who have contracted SARS-CoV-2. As the pandemic triggers moves to limit contact and thus transmission, many have found their daily routines, including their exercise habits, changing. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults between 18 and 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. WHO identifies physical inactivity as the “fourth leading risk factor for global mortality” and attributes approximately 3.2 million deaths a year to insufficient physical activity.

A survey of 873 individuals from across the U.S. examined how these disruptions have altered exercise habits. The researchers found over half (60.5%) of respondents met the 150-minute recommendations during the pandemic. This number represented a 7.8% increase from the portion of respondents who had been meeting the recommendations prior to the pandemic. They also found an 11.3% increase in the portion of people who exceed these guidelines. However, the researchers also registered that intensity of exercise “significantly decreased,” a change attributed to lack of access to facilities and classes, as reported in the open-ended portion of the survey.    

The research will be presented virtually at the American Physiological Society (APS) Integrative Physiology of Exercise (IPE). Request the Abstract: “Physical Activity Changes During the Spring 2020 COVID-19 Shutdown in the United States”




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