Following a survey of 12,913 participants from 139 countries, the website runrepeat.com has concluded that the act of indulging in physical exercise increased in general, during the COVID-19 induced-lockdown. There was however a dip in frequency of exercise for those normally used to exercising very often.
The survey required participants to report how many times a week they exercised, worked out or played sports before the outbreak of COVID-19 and after the outbreak acquired global scale. For the purpose of study, a person working out 1-2 times a week was deemed an average athlete; up to three times a week – moderate athlete and more than four times a week, avid athlete. Average athletes were found to have increased their frequency of exercise by 88 per cent. Moderate athletes increased their frequency by 38 per cent. However, avid athletes decreased their frequency by 14 per cent on average, a report by Paul Ronto, dated May 27, 2020, available on the runrepeat.com website, said (the report may be accessed on this link: https://runrepeat.com/exercise-covid-19-study). The survey was done between March 24 and March 30 this year.
Within these blocks, those who normally exercise once a week were found to have hiked that frequency by 156 per cent. Figures for other categories were – twice a week: +55 per cent; thrice a week: +8 per cent, four times a week: -10 per cent, five times a week: – 16 per cent, six times a week: -18 per cent and seven times a week: -15 per cent.
The study also looked at running since that was an activity permitted at many places during the period of survey. The trends were broadly similar to what has been cited in the case of exercise. Those used to participating in running once or twice a week ramped it up by 117 per cent, those previously running up to three times a week increased it by 55 per cent on average and avid runners – those running more than four times a week – decreased their efforts by nine per cent. Broken down further, the details were – those who previously ran once a week: +205 per cent; twice a week: +76 per cent, thrice a week: +22 per cent, four times a week: -2 per cent, five times a week: -10 per cent, six times a week: -13 per cent and seven times a week: -11 per cent.
The runrepeat.com study has also been mentioned by World Athletics in its statement of June 3, 2020 on a four year strategic plan to grow athletics as world emerges from lockdown.
(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)