ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0068.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Analysis Keywords: wearable device; physical activity; behavior; COVID-19; pandemic; exercise habits; analysis; objectively-measured physical activity
Online: 5 September 2022 (13:49:56 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in government restrictions that altered the lifestyle of people worldwide. Studying the impact of these restrictions on exercise behaviors will improve our understanding of environmental factors that influence individuals’ PA. We conducted a retrospective analysis using an index of government pandemic stringency developed by Oxford and a wearable device for runners to compare strictness of lockdowns and exercise habits, using digitally-logged PA data from more than 7,000 runners on a global scale. Additionally, time-of-day of PA globally and levels of PA in 14 countries are compared between the pre-pandemic year of 2019 and the first pandemic year of 2020. We found that during the pandemic the time-of-day that people exercised experienced a major shift, with significantly more activities logged during standard working hours on workdays (p<0.001) and fewer during the same time frame on weekends (p<0.001). Of the countries examined, Italy and Spain had among the most strict lockdowns and suffered the largest decreases in activity counts, whereas France experienced a minimal decrease in activity counts despite enacting a similarly strict lockdown. This study suggests that there are several factors affecting PA, including government policy, workplace policy, and cultural norms.