The influence of COVID-19 measures in the United Kingdom on physical activity levels, perceived physical function and mood in older adults: A survey-based observational study

Darren L Richardson, Michael J Duncan, Neil D Clarke, Tony D Myers, Jason Tallis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In March 2020, the spreading Coronavirus (COVID-19) prompted the United Kingdom government to introduce a societal shutdown, accompanied by self-isolation and social-distancing measures to reduce virus transmission. In doing so, opportunities for physical activity were likely reduced, potentially causing detrimental effects to older adults. Therefore, the present study investigated the influence of the initial six weeks of lockdown on physical activity levels, perceived physical function and mood in older adults. A cross-sectional, mixed-methods, observational study was conducted using self-administered, fortnightly online surveys throughout the UK between 21st March-4 May 2020. A total of 117 participants (52 males [age: 76 ± 4 years] and 65 females [age: 76 ± 4 years]) completed all surveys. Despite lockdown restrictions, this group of older adults maintained their pre-lockdown physical activity levels, but also increased their self-reported sedentary time. Subsequently, perception of physical function was maintained across lockdown. With regards to mood; the only strong evidence for an increase in depression was for males (ps = 95.35%; >0.3 AU), although self-reported levels of depression were similar between sexes at week six. Given the link between sedentary behaviour and negative health outcomes in older adults, strategies to reduce sedentariness during the COVID-19 pandemic are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-899
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Volume39
Issue number8
Early online date26 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Free access on publishers site

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • older adults
  • physical Activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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