A new UBC study shows that Canadians are not getting enough light physical activity (needpix.com)

A new UBC study shows that Canadians are not getting enough light physical activity (needpix.com)

Canadians not getting enough light exercise during pandemic, UBC study finds

Despite resumption of harder workouts, Canadians still not moving enough

Canadians aren’t getting enough light physical activity during the pandemic, according to a new study from UBC’s school of kinesiology released Monday (July 27).

Light activity was defined by the study as an activity that is “leisurely, allowing for easy conversation” such as walking and other everyday activities.

Canadians have been instructed to stay at home since physical distancing measures were introduced this spring. While researchers expected a decline in physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, data collected from 2,338 Canadians found that light physical activity declined from an average of 1.023 minutes per week pre-pandemic to 730 minutes per week post-pandemic.

The study, published in Frontiers of Psychology, found that moderate-to-vigorous activity declined between nine to 12.6 per cent from the beginning of the pandemic when physical distancing was introduced, but has returned to normal levels in the weeks since.

“Traditionally we’ve always focused on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, but more recent evidence shows that light physical activity can have some of the same benefits to physical and mental health,” said Katie Di Sebastiano, a postdoctoral fellow in kinesiology, and lead author of the study. “That’s a significant amount of activity that Canadians in the study were no longer getting.”

Staying active has been proven to be effective at preventing and treating a variety of ailments, including heart disease and diabetes. More recent evidence also shows that physical activity can help with the health issues related to COVID-19 by strengthening the immune system and improving mental health.

ALSO READ: Amusement parks welcome back fewer guests with new pandemic precautions

“These results really highlight the need to consider physical activity when we’re creating public health guidelines for a second wave of infections, or for future pandemics,” said Di Sebastiano. “In particular, our findings demonstrate the necessity for public health measures that provide extra space for everyone to engage in incidental activity through walking or cycling

The study used physical activity data from an app called ParticipACTION, which collected that data during a 10-week period from Feb. 10 to April 19, giving the study four weeks of pre-pandemic data and six weeks of post-pandemic data. This data included heart rate and speed of steps.

The participants of the study were mostly between 35-44 years old (26.6 per cent) and female (90.2 per cent). The study’s findings claim that this loss of activity may have significant long-term implications for the physical and mental health of Canadians.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusUBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Firefighters battle a house fire in Fleetwood on Dec. 2, 2020. (Photos: Shane MacKichan)
One man sent to hospital, two people arrested after Surrey fire

‘This was so frightening to see in person,’ witness posts after blaze at 160th Street and 89th Avenue

Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judge finds Surrey RCMP breached two robbery suspects’ Charter rights

This was in connection with the robbery of the Ritecare Pharmacy in Surrey on Oct. 10, 2017

Surrey Hospitals Foundation president and CEO Jane Adams is officially one of “Canada’s Most Powerful CEOs” as one of the winners of the 2020 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award. (Submitted photo: Surrey Hospitals Foundation)
Surrey Hospitals Foundation’s Jane Adams is one of ‘Canada’s Most Powerful CEOs’

Awards recognize 106 ‘outstanding’ who ‘advocate for workforce diversity’

This year’s White Rock RCMP children’s clothing drive was the best yet, organizers say. (Contributed photo)
White Rock RCMP children’s clothing drive ‘best ever’

Month-long annual event wrapped up Dec. 1

Representatives from the Delta Firefighters’ Charitable Society and local retailers present cheques for $5,000 to Priscilla Belonio from WINGS - Azure Place and Wayne Connorton from the South Delta Starfish Pack program, proceeds from the society’s “We’re in this Together” t-shirt campaign. (Dave Mason/contributed photo)
Delta firefighters t-shirt campaign raises over $11,000

Funds donated to Azure Place transition house, South Delta Starfish Pack program

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

Most Read