Perceptions on activity behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic “second wave” among US adults: results of a short online survey

Emerson Sebastião, Michelle Steffens, Priscila Missaki Nakamura, Camila Bosquiero Papini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of people of all nations. This study examined physical activity (PA) behavior, barriers and facilitators to PA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This cross-sectional study assessed adults using a survey comprised of two parts: (a) demographics and general health and; (b) PA-related questions. The survey link was disseminated via email and various social media, and was active from September to October 2020. Results: A total of 277 adults (Mean ± SD; age = 32.6 ± 13.6 years, BMI = 27.1 ± 16.5 kg/m2) were evaluated. A majority of the sample was female (67%), single (53%) and White (70%). About a third of the participants reported good mental and physical health, with a similar amount reporting weight gain during the pandemic. Participants further reported on average 271 min of PA/week, and 5.7 h/day of sitting time. Overall, 41.5% of the participants reported a decrease in PA during the COVID-19 pandemic, but those not meeting PA recommendations reported higher rates (67.9%) of decrease in levels of PA than their active counterparts (23.6%); x2 (2, N = 277) = 55.757, p < 0.01. Over 50% of the participants reported engaging in PA at home, with significantly more females (43.5%) than males (17.6%) making use of live stream PA/exercise session opportunities; x2 (2, N = 277) = 18.896, p < 0.001. “Closed gyms” and “more time” were reported as the main negative and positive factors, respectively, affecting PA during the pandemic. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that PA behavior was negatively affected in US adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that “closed gym” (i.e., barrier), and “more time” (i.e., facilitator), were the main factors reported affecting PA participation. Given the well-known public health importance of PA, it is paramount that public health initiatives focus on providing not only educational but also environmental opportunities and support for PA during this period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalSport Sciences for Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronavirus
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Physical activity
  • Sitting time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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