Assessing the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on perceived barriers and facilitators to physical activity amongst women in Southeast England

Conference paper


Hersant, H., Paice, K., Anico, S. and Smith, E. 2023. Assessing the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on perceived barriers and facilitators to physical activity amongst women in Southeast England. Women in Sport and Exercise Academic Network (WiSEAN) Conference 2023. Liverpool, UK 21 - 22 Jun 2023
TypeConference paper
TitleAssessing the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on perceived barriers and facilitators to physical activity amongst women in Southeast England
AuthorsHersant, H., Paice, K., Anico, S. and Smith, E.
Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in long-term closure of exercise facilities, potentially restricting daily physical activity (PA). It is suggested that women’s PA levels have been disproportionately negatively affected by the pandemic, compared to men. It is important to determine how women’s PA has changed over the pandemic, and if new barriers to PA participation exist since the release of restrictions.

Aims: To assess how women in southeast England changed their activity during and post-pandemic, including how barriers and facilitators to activity have changed.

Methods: 330 females completed the first online questionnaire (during lockdown), and 139 completed the post lockdown questionnaire. Questionnaires were designed from the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire and International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Participants reported PA, and barriers and facilitators to exercise (Farah et al., 2021). Eighteen females then participated in online semi structured focus groups. Descriptive and inferential statistical analysis was used for questionnaire data, and focus group transcriptions were thematically analysed.

Results: Most females maintained PA levels throughout the pandemic, with chi-square analysis revealing no significant associations (p<0.05) during and post-lockdown for PA levels. For barriers, significant associations (p<0.05) were revealed between the during- and post-lockdown responses for lack of access to equipment/space, time to exercise, social groups, finances, legal restrictions, safety concerns, gender, and child-care. Similarly, significant associations (p<0.05) for facilitators were identified during- and post-lockdown for access to equipment, finances, more time to exercise, and exercising with a social group. Focus group themes supported this, with participants expressing desires to return to pre-lockdown PA habits, but also maintain new ones created, such as continuing to exercise at home.

Conclusion: It is evident that the pandemic affected and changed the barriers and facilitators to female PA participation. Governments and industries in the sector should focus on providing services that address these changing habits to improve activity levels in women.

Keywordswomen; COVID-19; physical activity; exercise
Sustainable Development Goals3 Good health and well-being
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
LanguageEnglish
ConferenceWomen in Sport and Exercise Academic Network (WiSEAN) Conference 2023
Publication process dates
Completed21 Jun 2023
Deposited19 Feb 2024
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/item/y796y

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