Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the researchers have found that men and younger adults have been less physically active during the Covid-19 lockdown.
For the findings, published in the journal BMJ Open Sport, the research team included data from 911 UK adults who took part in an online survey which began on 17 March.
“The overall levels of physical activity are higher than we were expecting,” said study lead author Dr Lee Smith from the Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in the UK.
The research found that 75 per cent of UK adults met the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s physical activity recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week, since the introduction of social distancing regulations.
This is higher than previous studies carried out before the Covid-19 pandemic, which found that between 58 per cent and 66 per cent of the UK adult population typically meet physical activity guidelines.
The new study found that women, older adults, and those with a higher annual household income were significantly more likely to meet the WHO’s physical activity guidelines.
According to the researchers, this is the opposite of studies carried out prior to the pandemic, where men and younger adults were found to have higher levels of physical activity.
“During the early stages of the outbreak, one of the few reasons to leave home was to take part in an hour of exercise. As well as offering a reason to go outside, this may have served as a target for some people,” Smith said.
“Typically, the proportion of UK adults meeting physical activity guidelines declines with age. Therefore, there should be additional support offered to older adults to encourage them to sustain this level of physical activity post-pandemic,” Smith noted.