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

Vedder Park area where alcohol consumption was part of a pilot project in 2020. (City of Chilliwack)
Hundreds weighed in with opinions on alcohol consumption in Chilliwack parks

Pilot project in two Chilliwack parks last summer saw responsible drinking in designated areas

Russell Jonathon George Gurney was last seen in Chilliwack in mid-December. (RCMP photo)
RCMP ask for help to find missing Abbotsford man last seen in Chilliwack

Police and family are concerned for the well-being of Russell Jonathon George Gurney

In this photo illustration, a provincial election mail-in ballot sealed in an Elections B.C. return envelope is seen before being deposited in a Canada Post mailbox, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. For the Chilliwack school board byelection being held Feb. 13, 2020, mail ballots will now be a part of the process. (The Canadian Press/ Darryl Dyck)
Mail ballots approved for Chilliwack school board byelection

Applications to vote by mail need to be submitted to city by Jan. 28

Leonard Hodgins released his seven-song EP, A Date, with Disaster, on Jan. 4, 2021. (Submitted)
‘Silver lining’ to pandemic as Chilliwack musician finds inspiration, releases new album

Leonard Hodgins released his EP ‘A Date, with Disaster’ at the beginning of 2021

Preliminary artist rendering by Karvin Developments for three-lot subdivision on Berkeley Avenue. (City of Chilliwack/Karvin)
Subdivision proposal for three new homes on Berkeley Avenue goes through

Developer agrees to two-storey height limit on homes proposed for large lot over slough

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Most Read