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Survey reveals exercise habits during lockdown

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Nearly two-thirds of adults in Wales feel that it is more important than ever to be active during the coronavirus outbreak, with walking, home workouts and jogging their most popular forms of exercise during lockdown.

A survey carried out by Savanta ComRes on behalf of Sport Wales has revealed a fascinating insight into the nation’s activity habits and behaviours during lockdown…

What activities are people doing?

Walking is the most popular activity among those people who are staying active. According to the survey, 59% of Welsh adults say that they have walked for leisure in the last week, with the 55+ age group the most likely to be doing this. 

The Joe Wicks factor has certainly be felt in Wales, with 30% of people doing some form of home-based physical activity in the past week, either by following a video or online workout, or by creating their own session. This sort of fitness activity has proven to be even more popular with 16-34 year olds, as half of this age group report doing a home workout in the last week. 

Two thirds (66%) of those who did online workouts found them through YouTube, while 3% accessed them through the #BeActiveWales pages on Sport Wales’ website. Fourteen per cent of people have been for a jog or run in the last week, with 16-34 year-olds the most keen to do so, while 10% have been for a bike ride.

How much exercise is everyone getting? 

Twenty six per cent of parents said that their children are doing more activity than usual during lockdown, while 35% report that their children are doing less.

Among adults, the overall levels of physical activity have not shifted significantly – 34% say that they are doing more at this time than before the COVID-19 restrictions, while 33% say that they are doing less – but there are signs that people who were already active before the restrictions were put in place are generally more active now.

Although 22% of adults haven’t done any physical activity of 30 minutes or more during the past week, 59% say that they have done a form of activity on three or more days, while a third of adults have done an activity on five or more days. 

Of those who have done some form of activity in the past week, 72% of those who have been for a run or jog say that they have done more than they would in a usual week, 67% of those who have cycled for leisure have done more than usual, and 62% are doing more home fitness or exercise classes (either by creating their own session or following a video) than they would have done before the restrictions began.


Feelings towards exercise

Over half (51%) of adults feel that the current situation has impacted on their exercise regime, while 49% say that they have found new ways to be active since the outbreak.

Two in every three adults (67%) say that they are exercising to help manage their physical health, while 62% are staying active to help look after their mental health. 

However, despite the overall willingness to be active, only 56% of adults say that they are finding exercise enjoyable and satisfying at this time. Among the reasons for this is the fact that 40% of adults say they do not find exercising on their own enjoyable. Females, younger adults, and those from lower socio-economic grades are more likely to say this.

Exercising alone or with someone else?

In most cases, people have been exercising on their own. Eighty per cent of people who had been out for a jog in the last week did so alone, while 75% of those who did a home workout did so on their own, while 64% of cyclists have been riding solo.

Walking for leisure is the activity that is most likely to have been done with another adult (45% of people who walked for leisure did so with other adults), while informal active play/games is the activity that is most likely to have been done with children – 49% who did this activity did so with children.

While 66% agree that they have more time now to be physically active, 44% of adults feel guilty about not exercising more during the outbreak. Forty-eight per cent of adults worry about leaving the house to exercise or be active, while 15% feel that they don’t have the opportunity to be physically active. Those aged 35+ are the most likely to feel this way. 

Responding to the survey findings, Sport Wales Chief Executive Brian Davies said: “While we’re obviously going through unprecedented times of uncertainty and worry, it is great to see that large numbers of people in Wales have been staying active during lockdown, and have recognised the importance of doing so. 

“That one daily walk certainly became something to cherish in the early weeks of lockdown when freedom was limited, while for many, exercise has been at the heart of their family time as they make the best they can out of a difficult situation. 

“Insight such as this will form a key element in our work to ensure that our sector develops an ongoing understanding of the implications of COVID-19 on sport in Wales.”

Savanta ComRes surveyed 1,007 Welsh adults between 8 and 12 May. The data has been weighted to be demographically representative of Welsh adults 16+ by gender, age and the estimated households with children under 16.

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