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Assessing the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on perceived barriers and facilitators to physical activity amongst Women in Southeast England

Hersant, Hannah, Paice, Katherine, Anico, Shannah, Smith, Elizabeth (2023) Assessing the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on perceived barriers and facilitators to physical activity amongst Women in Southeast England. In: WiSEAN Conference: Free Communications Abstracts. . (In press) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:102146)

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in long-term closure of exercise facilities, potentially restricting daily physical activity (PA). It is suggested that women’s PA levels have been disproportionately negatively affected by the pandemic, compared to men. It is important to determine how women’s PA has changed over the pandemic, and if new barriers to PA participation exist since the release of restrictions.

Aims: To assess how women in southeast England changed their activity during- and post-pandemic, including how barriers and facilitators to activity have changed.

Methods: 330 females completed the first online questionnaire (during lockdown), and 139 completed the post-lockdown questionnaire. Questionnaires were designed from the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire and International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Participants reported PA, and barriers and facilitators to exercise (Farah et al., 2021). Eighteen females then participated in online semi-structured focus groups. Descriptive and inferential statistical analysis was used for questionnaire data, and focus group transcriptions were thematically analysed.

Results: Most females maintained PA levels throughout the pandemic, with chi-square analysis revealing no significant associations (p<0.05) during- and post-lockdown for PA levels. For barriers, significant associations (p<0.05) were revealed between the during-and post-lockdown responses for lack of access to equipment/space, time to exercise, social groups, finances, legal restrictions, safety concerns, gender, and child-care. Similarly, significant associations (p<0.05) for facilitators were identified during- and post-lockdown for access to equipment, finances, more time to exercise, and exercising with a social group. Focus group themes supported this, with participants expressing desires to return to pre-lockdown PA habits, but also maintain new ones created, such as continuing to exercise at home.

Conclusion: It is evident that the pandemic affected and changed the barriers and facilitators to female PA participation. Governments and industries in the sector should focus on providing services that address these changing habits to improve activity levels in women.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Hannah Hersant
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2023 11:20 UTC
Last Modified: 03 May 2024 03:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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