3 in 10 Canadians are not prioritizing physical activity after the pandemic: study

Nearly one in three Canadians are shunning exercise after maintaining fitness levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy: Unsplash/ Jonathan Borba)

Nearly one in three Canadians are shunning exercise after maintaining fitness levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study says.

According to a new Research Co. study, released in February, almost half of the national sample, 49 per cent, claim they met the recommended exercise guidelines weekly or most weeks, within the last three months. 

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults should reach 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week.  

Forty-eight per cent of respondents met this target during the pandemic and an even higher proportion, 55 per cent, met physical activity guidelines before March 2020.

“Prior to the pandemic, only 23% of Canadians—and 34% of those aged 55 and over—never met the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines,” Mario Canseco, president of Research Co, said in a news statement. “In the past three months, the proportion has risen to 28% across the country and to 39% among the oldest adults,” he continued. 

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During the height of social-distancing, 29 per cent followed online workouts and routines while 18 per cent took up weightlifting at home. Seventeen per cent played sports that did not require equipment and 16 per cent used cardio machines in their home to stay active. 

Age significantly affected the results, as 75 per cent of Canadians between 18 and 34 years old took action to maintain fitness levels during the pandemic, 57 per cent of those aged 35 to 54, and 30 per cent of those who were 55 years and older. 

Twenty per cent say their fitness is better now than prior to COVID-19, the same percentage say their personal fitness is worse and 54 per cent believe their fitness has not changed. 

This online study’s results were conducted from Feb. 16 to 18, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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