Changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviours from before to during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown: A systematic review

Stephanie Stockwell, Mike Trott, Mark Tully, Jae Shin, Yvonne Barnett, Laurie Butler, Daragh McDermott, Felipe Schuch, Lee Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    88 Citations (Scopus)
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    Objective In March 2020, several countries banned unnecessary outdoor activities during COVID-19, commonly called € lockdowns. These lockdowns have the potential to impact associated levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Given the numerous health outcomes associated with physical activity and sedentary behaviour, the aim of this review was to summarise literature that investigated differences in physical activity and sedentary behaviour before vs during the COVID-19 lockdown. Design, data sources and eligibility criteria Electronic databases were searched from November 2019 to October 2020 using terms and synonyms relating to physical activity, sedentary behaviour and COVID-19. The coprimary outcomes were changes in physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour captured via device-based measures or self-report tools. Risk of bias was measured using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Results Sixty six articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review (total n=86 981). Changes in physical activity were reported in 64 studies, with the majority of studies reporting decreases in physical activity and increases in sedentary behaviours during their respective lockdowns across several populations, including children and patients with a variety of medical conditions. Conclusion Given the numerous physical and mental benefits of increased physical activity and decreased sedentary behaviour, public health strategies should include the creation and implementation of interventions that promote safe physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour should other lockdowns occur.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere000960
    JournalBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

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    • physical activity
    • Review
    • sedentary


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