Coronavirus lockdown: Winchester leads new study into the effect on physical activity and wellbeing

17 Apr 2020
Mother and young child holding hands walking along a path in autumn landscape

A team of researchers led by the University of Winchester has launched a new study to examine the effect of the UK Government's lockdown strategy on the population's physical activity levels and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Led by the University of Winchester in collaboration with Swansea, Southampton, Portsmouth, Exeter, Oxford Brookes and Gloucestershire Universities, the researchers are aiming to recruit a large sample of adults living in the UK to help understand the population effect of Covid-19 on people's physical activity and wellbeing at different stages of the UK's lockdown, imposed on 23 March 2020.

The information gathered via an online survey will help researchers be better prepared to support people in achieving and maintaining optimal health and wellbeing if the country were to encounter a similar lockdown in the future. It also provides an insight to the current physical activity levels of adults across the UK, providing vital information for how to promote healthy lifestyles when the lockdown ends.

The survey collects information on physical activity habits at the start of 2020, before Covid-19 and looks at what effect the lockdown has had on people's physical activity levels and types and, importantly, on their mental wellbeing.

To track how these responses change as we progress through Covid-19 lockdown and the eventual return to regular life, participants will be invited to complete the 10-minute survey on approximately four occasions over the course of the next 18 months.

Dr James Faulkner, reader in exercise physiology in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Winchester, and lead investigator of the study, said: "This survey will allow us to gather important information on whether the specific strategies imposed by the government are having a substantial influence, be this positive or negative, on physical activity and wellbeing of the UK population.

"We are asking as many people as possible to give just a little of their time to tell us how they are feeling and what physical activity (or not) they are doing during lockdown. A small input from each individual will have a large impact on our understanding."

Swansea University's Dr Kelly Mackintosh, co-investigator of the study, said: "If nothing else, one positive that has come out of COVID-19 is the government's promotion of the importance of physical activity. Beyond all of the physiological benefits, the mental health benefits of being active are particularly important at the moment. We hope that any positive behaviour changes are maintained when the lockdown is lifted. This information will be vital across all four home nations, with co-investigator Dr Melitta McNarry and I keen to drive initiatives through the Welsh Institute of Physical Activity and Health."

The study is open to all people over the age of 18 living in the UK. To take part, visit:

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