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

The ski hill is clearly marked as a no snowmobiling zone, but that hasn’t deterred sledders from ruining it for the second time this season (Patrick Gunderson photo)
Tweedsmuir Ski Hill wrecked by sledders for second time this season

The Club is respectfully requesting snowmobilers stay off the ski hill

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 cases climb to 52 as first vaccinations to begin Jan. 19

VCH has indicated vaccines will be available for off-reserve elders, but has not provided specifics

NES hosts grades 5 - 7 in Hagensborg (file photo)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Nusatsum Elementary School

The exposure was in grade 5 and took place Jan. 6, 2021

Jeffery Snow has been our community paramedic for the past three years and has worked as a paramedic for over three decades. He is now certified to offer COVID-19 testing to clients (Caitlin Thompson photo)
Bella Coola’s community paramedic can now test people for COVID-19

Jeffery Snow became certified to offer COVID-19 testing on Jan. 13, 2021

The first cases were reported by the Nuxalk EOC on Jan. 7 (file photo)
COVID-19 cases climb to 25 in Bella Coola

The first cases were reported by the Nuxalk EOC on Jan. 7

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

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

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read