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Covid-19 lockdown has brought physical activity to the forefront of people's minds

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Covid-19 lockdown has brought physical activity to the forefront of people's minds

Chris Scott, London Sport's Head of Corporate Communications, was a speaker on a recent Active Citizens Worldwide webinar looking at the global impact of covid-19 on physical activity and sport. Here, he reflects on how the dial has been moved for exercise during the lockdown period.

Few things in recent history can be considered truly global in their impact, but the current covid-19 crisis registers highly among them. 

With its impact touching on every country around the world, the responses of the global community to the pandemic have made front-page news across the globe.

Within the UK, one topic that has seemingly been pushed to the forefront of people’s agendas by the covid-19 outbreak has been our approach to physical activity, sport and exercise. 

Whether in the context of efforts to get active at home (Sport England’s excellent #StayInWorkOut initiative and Joe Wicks’ home PE workouts leading the pack), the appropriateness of exercising outdoors during lockdown (a key inclusion in government’s reasons for people to leave their houses) or the phenomenal fundraising efforts associated with exercise (Captain Tom Moore’s nation-inspiring efforts), awareness of physical activity seems to be at an almost all-time-high. 

And nor is that just an anecdotal suggestion: research published this week by Sport England suggests that 63% of adults think it is more important to be active now than at normal times, and an enormous 71% of adults agree that exercise is helping manage their physical health.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, in the midst of a global pandemic, this response to physical activity also echoes worldwide. 

At a webinar convened to outline hypotheses on the impacts of covid-19 on global physical activity and sport impacts, the four cities represented in the Active Citizens Worldwide initiative; Auckland, London, Singapore and Stockholm, addressed each city’s approach to physical activity in the context of their own national responses to the covid-19 outbreak. 

While strategies differed in response to diverse political and public health measures, the critical role of physical activity and sport was highlighted by each city as a key weapon in the fight against the long-term impacts of covid-19.

In all areas, physical activity was seen as offering an important intervention in support of better physical and mental wellbeing, and in its ability to reconnect people in regions experiencing stricter lockdown conditions.

There’s no escaping the fact that the long-term impacts of covid-19 will touch on physical activity and sport globally in the same way as all walks of life.

The long-term economic consequences on everything from commercial gyms to community sport clubs remains reliant on successful, continued fiscal support, while the long-term changes to people’s behaviours and mindsets towards physical activity will only be understood in the months and years to come. 

Despite the uncertainty, there is hope to be found – perhaps nowhere more than in the ways that lockdown has brought fitness, physical activity and exercise to the forefront of people’s minds, and the global consensus on the critical role it has to play now and in the days to come.

For more information on the Active Citizens Worldwide initiative, visit www.activecitizens.world

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London Sport aims to ensure Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity

About London Sport

London Sport aims to ensure more Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org

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