No exercise for quarter of people at home

University College London has revealed that one in four people say they have had no exercise or even gentle physical activity in the past day.

The first wave of results from the university’s study on adults’ psychological and social experiences during coronavirus lockdown also revealed that concerns about getting food and for friends and family rank highly for most people, above getting ill with the virus.

In the first week of the study, researchers found that 64 per cent of people reported being worried about family and friends, and 54 per cent said they were concerned about getting food. Just under half (44 per cent) of the sample were worried about becoming seriously ill from coronavirus.

Latest data shows that 85 per cent reported engaging in no moderate or strenuous exercise at all last weekend, and nearly 40 per cent of people said they had not done any gentle exercise such as going out for a walk. Combining all types of gently, moderate and vigorous physical activity in the home and outside shows that one in four people had no exercise at all in the previous 24 hours.

People living alone and people with lower household income were also found to be engaging less in all kinds of social activity. Phoning or video-calling friends or family is more popular amongst adults under 30 or over 60 (and amongst women), and people with mental health conditions appear to be communicating less via messaging and calls than others.

Daisy Fancourt, who is leading the study, said: “Although this study is not representative of the population, we are pleased that some many people have sent us data. This gives us crucial information on how people are feeling and what they are doing during this crisis. We will be following participants weekly in order to track changes in mental health, loneliness, and behaviours; factors that will all be critical in how people cope with this pandemic.”