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Departments: ACSM News Briefs

ACSM News Briefs

ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal: 7/8 2021 - Volume 25 - Issue 4 - p 2
doi: 10.1249/FIT.0000000000000689
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A new study published in the July 2021 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® looks at physical activity (PA) behaviors before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Considering the stay-at-home orders and shutdowns of gyms and fitness centers during the pandemic, the authors set out to identify individual-level factors that protected against declines in PA levels amid the COVID-19 restrictions. They used the Pennington Biomedical COVID-19 Health Behaviors Survey for the analyses and mixed-effect linear and generalized linear models to estimate the effects of individual-level factors on changes in PA levels during the COVID-19 restrictions.

A total of 4,376 participants provided information on PA behaviors before and during the COVID-19 shutdown. Overall, PA levels declined by a mean ± SD of 112 ± 1,460 MET minutes/week during the COVID-19 shutdown; however, changes in PA were heterogeneous, with 55% of the participants reporting increases in or maintenance of PA during that time. They found that several social and demographic factors were significantly related to declines in PA, including high prepandemic PA levels, living alone (difference = 118 MET minutes/week), low household income (difference between the highest and the lowest income group = 363 MET minutes/week), COVID-19-related changes in income (difference = 110 MET minutes/week), and loss of employment (difference = 168 MET minutes/week). Substitution of prepandemic gym attendance with the purchase and use of home exercise equipment or exercise through virtual fitness platforms promoted increases in PA during the COVID-19 shutdown.

The authors suggest that while promoting PA through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to consider demographic factors, which greatly influence health behaviors and implementation of, and access to, replacement behaviors. The promotion of such strategies could help maintain PA levels during potential future stay-at-home orders.

Interested in free resources to help reduce sedentary behavior? Check out this resource page from ACSM:


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