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Mental health Physical activity

The impact of COVID-19 on sport, physical activity and (social) well-being


The COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have very considerable effects on the sporting world as well as on the physical and mental well-being of people around the world.

Daily life with physical activity has been impaired for months, affecting the health of a remarkable portion of society. According to this article on physical activity during COVID-19, a significant decline in steps taken assessed by activity tracker users has already been shown (Fitbit, 2020). On the other hand, the pandemic also offers opportunities for exploring new approaches, such as digital ones (e.g. online yoga classes), but also outdoor ones, in public space.

Wijkvereniging Overhoeks (neighbourhood society) is showing alternative created ways for public physical exercise in Amsterdam north.

This article from the United Nations describes the impact of COVID-19 on sport, physical activity and well-being and its effects on social development and offers recommendations to both support the safe re-opening of sporting events and tournaments following the pandemic, as well as to maximize the benefits that sport and physical activity can bring in the age of COVID-19 and beyond.

Maintaining regular physical exercise during self-isolation is important for the prevention of future chronic health conditions due to a sedentary lifestyle.

This article offers recommendations for home-based physical training. Healthy exercise is particularly essential to promote and restore the physical independence of elderly people. According to this French study, older adults expressed the need to perform physical activity at home despite the decline in their participation in group physical activities before the quarantine. Consequently, there is a need to help older adults integrate simple and safe ways to stay physically active at home.

The fact sheet ‘Kenmerken ouderen & Bewegen‘ by dr Marije Kanis and Berber Nauta is a general overview of facts and figures in relation to physical exercise and elderly people. This was done for the BAAT project (Bewegen op Maat) by the Digital life centre which investigates the individual characteristics and (digital) preferences for better engaging in digital and physical exercise.