The epidemic has changed people's exercise habits

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, have you exercised more or less than before?

According to a recent study focusing on physical exercise in the United Kingdom, since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, with the introduction of wave after wave of blockade bans and quarantine measures, most of us have reduced the frequency of physical exercise, which is also insufficient. Surprising discovery.

However, for some people, they still seem to have guaranteed the amount of exercise before the epidemic, and some even exceeded the amount of exercise before. What is even more surprising is that most of the groups who exercised more than before the epidemic are elderly people over 65 years old.

The study found that it has not yet been peer-reviewed, but it and more and more relevant evidence around the world show that the new crown epidemic is reshaping our way of exercising, and some ways are not necessarily the way we expected.

Over the past six months, the lockdown policies and other epidemic prevention and control measures around the world have changed almost all aspects of our lives, and have caused great impact on our work, family, education, emotions, expectations, social activities, and personal health. influences.

Therefore, we should be able to find that the epidemic also seems to have changed our exercise time and way of exercise. However, according to some recent studies, the nature of these changes is still unclear, and may even change further.

According to one of the studies, researchers said that in the first few weeks after the U.S. and other countries began to make lockdown decisions against the epidemic, Google searches for the word "exercise" have skyrocketed, and In the next few months, it has maintained a high search volume.

Many people are also starting to exercise more frequently through the information they have searched. According to an online survey released by RunRepeat, a running shoe evaluation company, in 139 countries, most people who exercised before the epidemic said that they had exercised more frequently in the first few weeks after the outbreak.

Another independent survey of nearly 1,500 elderly Japanese found that most of the elderly interviewed did not exercise frequently during the early period of the lockdown, but by June, their frequency of walking and exercising had returned to the level before the epidemic.

However, in another study in June this year, analyzing data related to the step-counting application of more than 450,000 anonymous smartphone users, it was found that the number of daily steps of users around the world had dropped significantly after the lockdown began.

In the first 10 days after each country’s blockade ban, the average daily step count fell by about 5.5%. One month after the blockade ban was introduced, the decline dropped to about 27%.

However, most research and survey data rely on the interviewees' memories of their sports. Therefore, these data cannot be guaranteed to be 100% accurate.

In addition, these research findings mainly reflect the macro findings, and the lack of classification reflects differences in different age groups, socioeconomic groups, gender, and other factors. These subdivisions may have different findings about people's movement during the epidemic.

For the latest study that is currently awaiting peer review, researchers at University College London mainly refer to free data recorded by smartphone users in the United Kingdom and other countries on their tracking applications.

The application uses GPS and similar technologies to track the time users spend on walking, running or cycling. Users can accumulate exercise points through exercise, and the points can also be cashed out or receive other rewards.

The data collected by the researchers came from 5,395 anonymous users who have lived in the UK for a long time. These users range in age from teenagers to old age. All of them have been using the app since January 2020 at the latest before the epidemic spread to the UK.

Researchers use the birthday information and zip code data provided by users in the app to divide them into different groups by age and region, and learn how much they exercised in January.

Subsequently, they launched a series of comparisons. The first comparison is the data of user exercise in various parts of the UK after the introduction of the social distance restriction ban in the early days of the epidemic, and then the data of user exercise in various places after the introduction of the stricter blockade ban. Finally, it compares the user's exercise volume data after the lockdown ban was continuously lifted in the mid-summer period.

Unexpectedly, they discovered that almost everyone's movement changed when the epidemic began. Regardless of gender or socioeconomic status, the amount of exercise of most people has declined, especially after the implementation of the total blockade ban.

The groups with the most significant decline in exercise are those who maintained the most active exercise before the outbreak and those under 40 (the two groups do not completely overlap).

After the blockade was lifted or slowed down, most people began to exercise more frequently, but in general, only those over the age of 65 recovered or exceeded the amount of exercise before the epidemic.

Abi Fisher, associate professor of sports and health at University College London, was one of the supervisors of the study. He said the findings of the study were surprising, "especially 50% of the elderly population are people 70 years and older."

Of course, these elderly people, like other men and women in the study, have downloaded and used the sports application, which distinguishes them from the vast majority of people in the world who do not use the application.

In addition, this research focuses on "routine" sports such as walking, running or cycling, and does not include more relaxing activities such as hanging out or watering flowers. But it is undeniable that these activities are also conducive to health, and it is likely that changes have also occurred during the epidemic.

It is worth mentioning that the findings of this study did not mention why people's exercise behavior during the epidemic is different than in the past, although various factors such as environmental and psychological factors will have a certain impact.

Abi Fisher said that because young adults may have to take care of children, work and other things during the epidemic, older people may have more free time for sports. In addition, they may also pay more attention to their immune system and physical health issues, so this will further motivate them to exercise.

Abi Fisher also added that the current research also has certain limitations, and longer and larger studies are needed on people's movement during the epidemic. For the time being, the result that can be drawn based on existing research is that everyone seems to want to monitor their exercise to ensure that we maintain sufficient exercise.

"Although the blockade ban has disrupted people's exercise habits, this is not surprising." Abi Fisher said, "but we cannot just assume that once the ban is lifted, everyone will be able to return to their pre-epidemic exercise level. Of course, Even if various prevention and control measures may restrict everyone's exercise, we also need to help people return to regular exercise."