The majority of Australians didn’t meet suggested physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines during the first wave of COVID-19 restrictions, a Monash University study has revealed.
The Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines are set by the Australian Government and encourage Australian adults aged 18-64 years to participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity as well as two sessions of muscle strengthening activities weekly.
Research enterprise BehaviourWorks Australia, part of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, conducted a survey into physical activity and sedentary behaviour during the pandemic with 1,084 adults in April this year.
With some five million Victorians, mainly in Melbourne, heading back into lockdown this week, researchers are encouraging people to move more in this next phase of stage 3 restrictions.
It found as COVID-19 forced Australians to stay home and closed gyms, 70 per cent of adults didn’t meet the aerobic components of the Australian Government physical activity guidelines and 60 per cent didn’t meet the strength components.
Young adults participated in more strength activities than older adults.
Researchers believed this could be due to the introduction of online home exercise classes that can be completed without leaving home and are more accessible to younger adults who are proficient with computers and the internet (e.g. using video platforms like Zoom).
Males were found to be slightly more active than females and alarmingly, one in five Australians did not participate in any physical activity such as walking or cycling.
The study also found adults spent more time sedentary than in studies conducted outside of the pandemic, with respondents aged 18-29 the most sedentary and those aged 60-69 being the least sedentary.
Food delivery services and the proliferation of television and movie streaming options are being attributed to the increase in sedentary behaviour among young people.
Results were published in the paper Physical activity and sedentary behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic: An Australian population study.
To view other results from SCRUB, click here.