What the Pandemic Did to Workouts
By Alan Mozes HealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, Nov. 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Faced with gym closures imposed by a pandemic and severe limitations on movement outside the home, a new survey suggests Americans are spending more time exercising exercise while reducing the intensity of their workouts.
The survey of nearly 900 Americans across the country, conducted between May and June, used as a benchmark the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations that all adults between the ages of 18 and 64 are at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
“The COVID-19 restrictions imposed at the onset of the pandemic have created a unique and unprecedented environment, including restricted access to resources and, in some cases, an increase in unstructured time,” said the author of the study Mary Stenson, associate professor of exercise science and sport studies at College of Saint Benedict / Saint John’s University in St. Joseph, Minn. “We were curious as to how these changes might impact physical activity patterns in the United States during shutdowns, but also if these changes last over the long term.
In Stenson’s study, over 85% of those surveyed were women and almost 90% were white, with an average age of almost 39 years.
The results: In June, just over 60% of those polled said they met the WHO threshold, which is a jump of almost 8% from pre-pandemic routines. Investigators also found an increase of more than 11% in the number of people who actually exceeded this threshold.
The number of days per week devoted to exercise also increased significantly, from 3.75 days to over 4.25 days.
The time spent per exercise session, however, remained more or less stable, at just under an hour. And exercise intensity decreased “significantly,” the researchers found, with respondents attributing the drop to an inability to access gym equipment and classes and a shift to more walking in the middle of the day. air.
“The increased activity and lower intensity was as expected,” said Stenson, who said the results likely reflect the loss of “responsibility” for performance that comes with the cancellation of group exercises, organized sports and training sessions.
But Stenson said she was surprised by an additional observation that nearly three-quarters of those polled said they were likely or very likely to stick with their pandemic exercise habits after the pandemic. And nearly 94% of those who had increased their activity level since March said they plan to continue with their new routines in the coming year.
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