Men and young adults struggle the most with their fitness during the pandemic


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Although three in four adults meet WHO exercise guidelines, a recent survey shows that women and the elderly are the most likely to take care of their bodies during lockdown.


CAMBRIDGE, England – It has been a lot harder to stick to a set exercise routine over the past few months, but the more dedicated of us have always found a way to stay in shape. A recent study of the demographics that remain active reveals that men and young adults are surprisingly much more lazy lately than women and the elderly.

The research, which includes data on 911 UK citizens, was conducted by both Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Ulster. All participants began filling out exercise surveys online on March 17 of this year.

In total, 75% of participants met or still exceeded the official WHO exercise recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week. This finding is actually quite positive. Previous surveys show that between only 58% and 66% of the UK population get enough exercise.

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That said, women, the elderly, and participants with higher annual household incomes are all much more likely to meet WHO fitness guidelines. Interestingly, this finding directly contradicts similar projects carried out before the emergence of COVID-19. Back then, men and young adults exercised more than other demographic groups.

“Overall levels of physical activity are higher than we expected,” says lead author of the study, Dr Lee Smith, reader of physical activity and public health at Anglia Ruskin University, in a statement.

“The British public may have experienced an increase in free time and used that time to be physically active. Also, during the early stages of the epidemic, one of the few reasons to leave home was to get an hour of exercise. In addition to offering a reason to go out, it may have served as a target for some people, ”he concludes. “In general, the proportion of UK adults meeting physical activity guidelines declines with age. Therefore, additional support should be offered to older people to encourage them to maintain this level of physical activity after the pandemic. “

The study is published in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine.

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