Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Physical Activity Behavior Across Domains and Settings


physical activity
behavior settings


Background: COVID-19 restrictions and alterations to daily living (e.g. working from home, caregiving responsibilities) necessitated changes in physical activity (PA) behavior.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to understand how PA within specific domains and behavior settings changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: An e-survey, conducted April-June 2020, examined changes in PA across domains and settings in a national sample of adults (N=805; M age=38.7 ± 14.9 yrs; 78.0% female).

Results: Respondents reported domain-specific increases in household and recreational PA, but decreases in active transportation, occupational PA, and public transportation use. Weekly minutes of PA changed significantly across all behavior settings, with reported increases in home-based, neighborhood, parks/trails, and total PA, and decreases in PA through recreational sports and fitness facilities. Total weekly PA minutes increased by 10.6% (Z= 4.428, p < .000). Those with caregiving responsibilities reported increases in household PA (2=9.82, p=0.007) and PA frequency (2=8.21, p=0.02). Those without caregiving responsibilities were more likely to report increases in sitting (2=20.55, p<0.001). Those working from home reported a larger increase in neighborhood PA (F(1,638)=4.93, p=.027). Those working at a jobsite that also had caregiving responsibilities reported less weekly PA, while those working from home with caregiving responsibilities reported greater weekly PA (F(1, 646) = 4.23, p = .04).

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