Older adults and women have been more active during quarantine, survey finds

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Researchers are encouraging consumers to keep up with a fitness routine

Staying active during quarantine orders can come with countless mental and physical health benefits, and experts are continuing to urge consumers to find ways to be active in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic

Now, researchers from Anglia Ruskin University have found two groups in particular that haven’t been getting enough exercise during this extended time at home: young adults and men. According to their survey, older adults and women are outperforming younger adults and men when it comes to physical activity. 

Who’s still exercising?

To get a better gauge of exercise patterns during quarantine, the researchers surveyed over 900 U.K.-based adults beginning in mid-March. The researchers compared these results with a similar survey that was compiled prior to the pandemic. They were surprised to learn that overall activity levels increased from the time the pandemic began, as more people had taken up physical activity routines during quarantine than before the pandemic hit. 

“The overall levels of physical activity are higher than we were expecting,” said researcher Dr. Lee Smith. “It may be that the U.K. public have experienced an increase in free time and used this time to be physically active. Additionally, 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.” 

However, though overall activity levels were on the rise, the researchers broke down these findings by demographic and found that some groups weren’t as active as others. 

In recent months, more older adults and women have taken up exercise routines and are more likely to meet current World Health Organization recommendations. However, pre-pandemic, this wasn’t the case: men and younger adults were more likely to hit weekly exercise recommendations. Now, the roles have reversed, and men and young adults haven’t been exercising as frequently. 

Promoting exercise

Because of how beneficial physical activity can be, especially when it comes to longevity, the researchers hope that these findings inspire more consumers to adopt an exercise routine. 

“Typically, the proportion of U.K. adults meeting physical activity guidelines declines with age,” said Dr. Smith. “Therefore, there should be additional support offered to older adults to encourage them to sustain this level of physical activity post pandemic.” 

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