Background: The purpose of this study was to explore perceived changes in physical activity (PA) due to Covid19 stay-at-home and social distancing guidance among older adults.

Methods: Participants (n = 1429, 77% female, 84% ≥60 years) living in Scotland completed an online survey in Summer 2020 measuring PA and wellbeing (indexed through loneliness, and health-related quality of life). The survey included open- and closed-ended questions about how these variables changed in response to Covid19 social distancing and ‘shielding’ guidelines. 

Results: From the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), the majority reported high volumes of PA, indicative of being ‘moderately’ or ‘highly’ active. When asked specifically about strength training, 12% reported engagement on ≥2d/wk. Most participants reported that PA had changed during this time, citing reduced use of exercise facilities, increased active travel, and online PA classes; although only 16% reported engaging in PA online.

Conclusions: Higher levels of PA were found to be associated with better health-related quality of life. Additional efforts should be made to support PA engagement in older adults, including strength training and other tailored approaches to support individual needs.


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Cite as

Tomaz, S., Ryde, G., Swales, B., Neely, K., Andreis, F., Coffee, P., Connelly, J., Kirkland, A., McCabe, L., Watchman, K., Martin, J., Pina, I. & Whittaker, A. 2022, '“… Exercise opportunities became very important”: Scottish older adults’ changes in physical activity during Covid19’', European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 19(16). https://doi.org/10.1186/s11556-022-00295-z

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Last updated: 20 July 2022
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