The story so far
Shortly after the government issued guidance on social distancing and limiting people to one piece of outdoor exercise a day, we commissioned Savanta ComRes to conduct regular surveys.
Each week for the initial eight weeks of lockdown, Savanta ComRes surveyed the English public to assess their activity levels and attitudes towards physical activity.
Throughout this period, we published the results to help people understand the impact of coronavirus and how they could help to keep the nation active.
The research also included the ways people kept active and whether they did it solo, or with other members of their household.
Overall, activity levels held up relatively well throughout – with a third of adults doing 30 minutes or more of physical activity (at a level that raised their breathing rate) on five or more days a week.
However, below the surface, we see familiar inequalities replicated, even exacerbated. The whole population has been affected, but not affected equally.
The wider public health, social and economic impact of coronavirus is likely to have a greater negative impact on the capability, opportunity and motivation to be physically active for some groups over others.
We see this reflected in people’s behaviour. The demographic groups and audiences we were focusing on prior to the pandemic - such as women, people from lower socio-economic groups, older adults, people with a long term condition, illness or disability, and people from some BAME communities - are still finding it harder to be active.
People from a White background were most likely to have been active for at least 30 minutes on five or more days, and those from a Black background least likely.
Children and young people
Most parents have reported their children were doing some activity – only 9% of adults said the children in their households were doing no physical activity and exercise on a typical day. But only 19% said they were meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines and doing an hour a day.
And additional research by Childwise, into the effects of lockdown on activity levels in 5-17-year-olds, again illustrates the disruption to activity levels.
Part of Childwise’s omnibus Summer 2020 survey involving a nationally representative 1,164 children and conducted in May, shows some children and young people have struggled to get active at all during lockdown.
The figures have shown increased levels of activity as a family, though, as well as girls and children from BAME backgrounds finding it easier than others to be more active than usual.
See our report on the Childwise data