Has lockdown changed our physical activity and wellbeing?

A team of researchers has launched a new study to examine the effect of the UK’s lockdown on people’s physical activity levels and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The researchers, including Dr Zoe Saynor, at the University of Portsmouth, are aiming to recruit a large sample of adults across the UK to help understand the effect of Covid-19 on people’s physical activity and wellbeing at different stages of the UK's lockdown, imposed on 23 March, 2020.

The information gathered via an online survey will help researchers be better prepared to support people in achieving and maintaining optimal health and wellbeing if the country were to encounter a similar lockdown in the future. It will also provide an insight to the current physical activity levels of adults across the UK, providing vital information for how to promote healthy lifestyles when the lockdown ends.

The survey collects information on physical activity habits at the start of 2020, before Covid-19 and looks at what effect the lockdown has had on people’s physical activity levels and types and, importantly, on their mental wellbeing.

We really want to capture people’s experience in terms of movement, how are people faring in terms of being able to be physically active?

Dr Zoe Saynor , Senior Lecturer

To track how these responses change as we progress through Covid-19 lockdown and the eventual return to regular life, participants will be invited to complete the 10-minute survey on approximately four occasions over the course of the next 18 months.

Dr Saynor said: “We are interested to see how the lockdown affects people's physical and mental wellbeing and better understanding this will help us be ready to advise and support people if we were to face anything like this again and as we progress through the next phases.

“We really want to capture people’s experience in terms of movement, how are people faring in terms of being able to be physically active? How have they changed their behaviours? How has the current situation affected their overall well-being?

Leader of the study, Dr James Faulkner, at the University of Winchester, said: “This survey will allow us to gather important information on whether the specific strategies imposed by the government are having a substantial influence, be this positive or negative, on physical activity and wellbeing of the UK population.

“We are asking as many people as possible to give just a little of their time to tell us how they are feeling and what physical activity (or not) they are doing during lockdown. A small input from each individual will have a large impact on our understanding.”

The survey is open to all people over the age of 18 living in the UK. To take part, visit the survey.

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