KEY FINDINGS:

  • Overall levels of adult physical activity appear to be similar to those before the first COVID-19 restrictions were first introduced in March.
  • However, the pandemic appears to have widened inequalities in participation across gender, socio-economic status, long standing illness or conditions, and age.
  • While there was evidence to suggest a polarisation of activity during the national lockdown (with increases in the number of people doing ‘no physical activity’ and physical activity ‘every day’), the current survey suggests a reversal of this trend with more adults now doing ‘some’ activity.
  • Since May there has been an increase in the proportion of adults undertaking activities outside of the home, whilst a simultaneous decrease in home-based activities.
  • The feedback from this survey suggests that children in Wales are now doing more sport/physical activity outside of school than before COVID-19 restrictions were first introduced. The exception here is for adults from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who are more likely to say that their child/children are now doing less activity on a typical weekend day.
  • Two thirds of adults in Wales agree that it is important to exercise regularly. There has been a slight increase in the proportion of adults exercising to help manage their physical and mental health over the past five months.
  • The proportion of adults that have been encouraged to exercise by Government guidance has decreased from 43% in May, to 35% at this time.
  • Fewer people report missing the types of activity that they were able to do before COVID-19 restrictions were first introduced (from 56% during national lockdown to 49% currently).
  • Parks are the setting in which adults are most likely to feel confident taking part in physical activity at this time – 61% report feeling confident to take part in this space. This compares to 25% in swimming pools, 25% in gyms, and 20% in sports halls.
  • While 48% of adults worried about leaving the home to exercise or be active during national lockdown, this figure has now dropped to 36%.
  • Adults in Wales are most likely to look to the NHS, local councils and healthcare professionals/GPs for trusted information on how to be active.
  • 25% of adults in Wales that have sought information and guidance on sport/PA during the last 4 weeks, and of these three quarters have been successfully been able to access it. 83% of those that accessed the information said that it was ‘clear’.
  • Fewer adults report having ‘more time’ (58%) to be physically active at this time compared to during the national lockdown in May (66%).
  • Overall adults in Wales tend to agree that exemptions should be granted to people in local lockdown in order to enable them to participate in organised sport, particularly professional athletes. It should be noted however that older adults, those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and those with a long-standing condition or illness are not as likely to agree.
  • Of those adults that have reported using indoor gyms/health & fitness suites in the past week 82% reported that they felt comfortable using the facility. A similar proportion (81%) of adults that used indoor swimming pools also felt comfortable

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

  • During the national lockdown in May 2020, 29% of adults reported that they were self-isolating. This figure has now reduced to 13%. Males, adults aged 55+, those with a long-standing condition/illness, and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are most likely to be self-isolating at this time.
  • While 88% of adults in Wales reported being well enough to exercise in May, at this time 85% report being well enough to exercise.

PARTICIPATION:

How active are people now compared to May (during the national lockdown)?

  • While 51% felt that the COVID-19 outbreak had impacted their exercise in regime during the national lockdown in in May, the proportion of adults reporting this has now dropped to 45%.
  • Overall there appears to be little difference in whether people are doing more or less activity than before COVID-19 restrictions were first introduced in March (29% more, 28% less).

However:

  • Males are more likely to say that they are now doing more sport than before COVID-19 restrictions were first introduced in March, while females are more likely to say that they are now doing less.
  • Those aged 16-34 are more likely to say that they are now doing more sport than before the COVID-19 restrictions were first introduced in March (42% more, 25% less), but those aged 55+ are more likely to say that they are doing less (22% more, 31% less).
  • Those from the higher socio-economic backgrounds are more likely to say that they are now doing more activity (34% more, 27% less), while those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are more likely to report doing less (25% more, 29% less). 
  • Those without a long-standing condition or illness are more likely to say that they are now doing more activity (33% more, 27% less) , while those with a long-standing condition or illness are more likely to say that they are now doing less (25% more, 28% less).
  • There has been a decline (6 percentage points) in the proportion of males doing no physical activity compared to May, however the same decline has not been seen for females. The decline in ‘no activity’ is consistent across adults from both higher and lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • There has been an increase (4 percentage points) in the proportion of adults doing some physical activity (1-4 days per week). This increase is consistent across lower and higher social grades as well as for those with and without a long-standing condition or illness.
  • There has been a decline (10 percentage points) in the proportion of adults doing physical activity on most days (5+ days per week). While decline is consistent across all age groups, the greatest decrease is for those aged 55+. The decline is consistent for those with and without a long standing-illness.

 

What types of activities are people doing now and who are they doing them with?

  • The chart above shows that since May there that been an increase in the proportion of adults undertaking activities outside of the home, while there has been a decrease in the proportion of adults taking undertaking home-based activities.
  • For most of the activities listed above there has been a decline in the proportion of adults who have done these with someone else. The exception here is running, where the proportion of adults doing this acitivity with someone else has increased.
  • 10% of the adult population have been to a gym or done a fitness or exercise class away from home (in the past week). Of these adults 58% have done this activity with someone else.

Which indoor facilities have been used in the past week?

  • 22% of the adult population in Wales have taken part in sport/physical activity in an indoor facility in the past week.
  • 12% of the adult population have used gyms or fitness centres (including fitness classes). Males and those aged 16-34 are most likely to have used these facilities.
  • 9% of the adult population have used an indoor swimming pool in the past week. Males and those aged 16-34 are more likely to have used these facilities.

How much physical activity are children doing (outside of school)?

Adults are more likely to report that their child/children are now doing more sport/physical activity outside of school than before the COVID-19 restriction were first introduced in March (weekday: 31% more, 22% less. Weekend: 30% more, 23% less). For weekdays this is consistent across socioeconomic backgrounds, however those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to report that their child/children is now doing less activity on weekend days.

MOTIVATION/VALUES:

  • At this time 66% of adults in Wales agree that it is important to exercise regularly, compared to 64% during the national lockdown in May. Males, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those without a long-standing condition or illness are more likely to agree with this.
  • 50% of adults feel guilty about not exercising more at this time, compared to 49% in May. Females, younger adults, those without a longstanding physical or mental condition, and those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to report feeling guilty about not exercising more.
  • 18% of adults feel guilty about wanting to exercise at this time, which remains the same as during the national lockdown during May. Younger adults, those with a long-standing condition or illness and those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to report feeling guilty about wanting to exercise.
  • 35% of adults have been encouraged to exercise by Government’s guidance, compared to 43% during May. Males, younger adults, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those with a longstanding condition or illness are more likely to have been encouraged.
  • 49% of adults miss the types of activity they were able to do before the first restrictions were introduced in late March, compared to 56% in May.
  • 71% of adults are exercising to manage their physical health at this time, compared to 67% during the national lockdown in May.
  • 63% of adults are exercising to manage their mental health at this time, compared to 62% during the national lockdown in May.
  • 63% of adults feel that it is more important to be physically active during the ongoing pandemic than at other times. This is a similar level to what was reported during the national lockdown in May, at which point 62% of adults reported this. Females, younger adults, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those with no long-term condition or illness are more likely to say this.

CONFIDENCE:

Males, younger adults, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, and those with no longstanding illnesses or conditions tend to be more confident in taking part, regardless of the setting. There are however some notable exceptions:

  • For gyms and swimming pools there is no difference in confidence levels between males and females. Nor is there a difference between those with a long-standing illness or condition and those without.
  • Females are slightly more likely to feel confident than males taking part in a studio.
  • While older adults tend to feel less confident than younger adults in most setting, this is not the case for parks, where those aged 55+ are more likely to feel confident than other age groups.
  • 70% of adults feel that they have the ability to be physically active. This has not changed since during the national lockdown in May. Males, younger adults, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those with no long-standing condition or illness are more likely to report saying this.
  • 36% of adults currently worry about leaving the house to exercise or be active. This is a decline from 48% during national lockdown in May. Females, younger adults, those from lower SES backgrounds and those with a longstanding condition or illness are more likely to worry about leaving the house.

AWARENESS:

43% of adults agree that they have found guidance on taking part in sport and physical activity clear and easy to understand. Males, younger adults, those from higher se backgrounds, and those with no longstanding condition or illness are more likely to report saying this.

In the past four weeks 25% of adults have tried to access information or guidance on taking part in sport or physical activity. Of those that tried to access this information 75% were able to do so. 82% of those that accessed the information said that it was ‘easy’ to do so, while 83% say that this information or guidance was ‘clear’ (males, those aged 35-54, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, and those with no longstanding condition or illness were more likely to report that the information or guidance was clear).

OPPORTUNITY & RESOURCES/ACCESS:

  • There has been little change in the proportion of adults that report having in the opportunity to be active since May. While 69% said that they have the opportunity to be active during national lockdown in May, 68% currently report that this is the case. Males, younger adults, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, and those without a longstanding condition or illness are more likely to report having the opportunity to be active.
  • Similarly, 49% of adults reported finding new ways to be active during the national lockdown in May. This figure currently remains the same. Younger adults, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those with no longstanding illness or condition are more likely to report saying this.
  • While 66% of adults reported that they had more time to be physically active during the national lockdown in May, this proportion has declined to 58% at this time.
  • In all cases adults are more likely to agree that people in local lockdown should be granted exemptions to participate in organised sport. Adults are most likely to say this should be the case for professional athletes. 
  • It should be noted that males, those aged 16-34, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those with no long standing illness or condition are most likely to agree with exemptions in almost all cases.
  • The exception here is adults aged 55+ who are the most likely to agree that ‘junior athletes’ should be granted exemptions.

THE EXPERIENCE:

  • Of those adults that have reported using indoor gyms/health & fitness suites in the past week 82% reported that they felt comfortable using the facility. Females and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely to report feeling comfortable. Those with a longstanding condition or illness were less likely to report having felt comfortable.
  • Of those adults that have reported using indoor swimming pools in the past week 81% reported that they felt comfortable using the facility. Males, those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and those with no longstanding condition or illness were more likely to report having felt comfortable.
  • 57% of adults find exercising enjoyable and satisfying. This is similar level reported during the national lockdown in May (56%). (Males, younger adults, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those with no longstanding condition or illness are more likely to report saying this).
  • 57% of adults find exercising on their own enjoyable at this time. This is a similar level reported during national lockdown in May (56%). Males, older adults and those with no longstanding condition or illness are more likely to say that they enjoy exercising on their own.

Read Survey 1

ComRes Survey 1 – May 2020

The first survey of Coronavirus and physical activity in Wales.

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