Self-reported physical activity before a COVID-19 â € lockdown': Is it just a matter of opinion?

Troy J. Cross, Jennifer M.J. Isautier, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Sarah Jane Morris, Bruce D. Johnson, Courtney Wheatley-Guy, Bryan J. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There are growing concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic has facilitated a sedentary shift in our physical activity habits. A reduction in physical activity during the pandemic may be secondary to restrictive policies implemented at the government-level, typically those policies which limit interpersonal contact; for example, physical/social distancing. It is without question that social distancing is a necessary measure to mitigate community transmission of the novel virus; however, these policies often limit the public's opportunities to engage in physical activity. The strictest enforcement of social distancing occurs during an authority-mandated â € lockdown' (also known as a â € shelter-in-place' or â € stay-at-home' order). This Viewpoint focuses on the current evidence demonstrating that physical activity declines during a COVID-19 â € lockdown'. We highlight the point that most of the available evidence stems from investigations using non-validated, self-reported measures of physical activity and discuss the caveats therewith. This Viewpoint explores whether current evidence reflects an â € actual' or rather a â € perceived' reduction in physical activity, and raises the question of whether this distinction matters in the end.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere001088
JournalBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 6 2021


  • exercise
  • physical activity
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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