Over-65s were the only age group to become MORE active during coronavirus pandemic, says study
- A study at University College London tracked 5,395 people via smartphone app
- When lockdown began in March, nearly two-thirds of population exercised less
- Younger people’s activity fell most but this could be because gyms were closed
Older people were the only age group to become more active during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study.
Researchers from University College London (UCL) analysed data from people aged between 14 and 93, and found the pandemic had an effect on exercise habits.
Researchers from University College London (UCL) analysed data from people aged between 14 and 93 and found over-65s exercising more (stock image used)
When lockdown began in March, nearly two-thirds of the population began to walk, run or cycle less, the study found.
Younger people’s physical activity fell most before lockdown but least after lockdown, perhaps because gyms were closed.
The over-65s appeared to remain more active throughout lockdown and increased their activity levels as soon as it was eased.
Abi Fisher, an associate professor of physical activity and health at UCL said: ‘If you have established a habit of going to the gym after work on a certain day, and both of those are taken away, it takes motivation to find a substitute.’
UCL researchers tracked the activity levels of 5,395 people via a smartphone app before, during and after restrictions were introduced.
The new research used GPS to monitor precise activity levels between January and June.
During the first full week of lockdown, people had reduced the amount of exercise they were doing each week by 57 minutes, down by 37 per cent.
‘We found significant changes in physical activity from the week before the first case of Covid-19 was announced,’ wrote co-author Hannah McCarthy.
During the first full week of lockdown, people had reduced the amount of exercise they were doing each week by 57 minutes, down by 37 per cent (stock image used)
The NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week.
Experts are unsure why this pattern in exercising has happened, but give the reason that younger people may have been more worries about coronavirus as a factor.
Bryan Lewin, 72, a retired local government officer, said he has ‘retained’ his activing levels after a one-hour workout in Northampton.
‘I do notice a lot more older people out running or spending time outdoors.’