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Publication Detail
Physical Activity during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the UK: A Qualitative Analysis of Free-Text Survey Data
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Hailey V, Burton A, Hamer M, Fancourt D, Fisher A
  • Publisher:
    MDPI AG
  • Publication date:
    02/11/2022
  • Journal:
    International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Volume:
    19
  • Issue:
    22
  • Article number:
    14784
  • Status:
    Published
  • Print ISSN:
    1660-4601
  • Language:
    English
  • Keywords:
    COVID-19, lockdown, physical activity, mental health, wellbeing, outdoor space
  • Notes:
    This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract
Background: Several quantitative studies have found a decline in physical activity in response to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The aim of the present study was to use large-scale free text survey data to qualitatively gain a more in-depth understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity, then map barriers and facilitators to the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation, and Behaviour (COM-B) Model of Behaviour to aid future intervention development. / Methods: 17,082 participants provided a response to the free text module, and data from those who mentioned a physical activity related word in any context were included. Data were analysed using thematic analysis and key themes identified. / Results: 5396 participants provided 7490 quotes related to physical activity. The sample were predominately female (84%), white (British/Irish/Other) (97%) and aged <60 years (57%). Seven key themes were identified: the importance of outdoor space, changes in daily routine, COVID-19 restrictions prevented participation, perceived risks or threats to participation, the importance of physical health, the importance of physical activity for mental health and the use of technology. / Conclusion: Future physical activity interventions could encourage people to walk outdoors, which is low cost, flexible, and accessible to many. Developing online resources to promote and support physical activity provides a flexible way to deliver quality content to a large audience.
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