Physical activity among adults in Yorkshire has fallen by a quarter since the lockdown

Date: 08 May 2020

Physical activity among adults in Yorkshire has fallen by a quarter since the lockdown came into effect – with a third putting on weight.

Researchers found those who’ve increased in weight have put on an average of six lbs during recent weeks.

Coupled with this, Yorkshire locals have gone from doing an average of one hour and 53 minutes of physical activity a day prior to the restrictions - to one hour and 27 minutes now.

This includes any physical activity at all – everything from a short walk to cleaning the home. 

As a result, the study of 500 adults from Yorkshire commissioned by Yorkshire Cancer Research found 66 per cent are concerned about the impact little or no physical exercise might have on their health.

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research said: “There’s no denying there are fewer ways of exercising at the moment.

“And with millions of adults working from home or looking after school children, many of us will have no cause to leave our homes – often for days at a time.

“But being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight is so crucial to reducing the likelihood of developing cancer. It’s really important to exercise when possible – and where safe to do so.”

In addition to overall levels of physical activity falling, the study also found levels of vigorous exercise have dropped considerably.

Vigorous physical activity is exercise which causes hard and fast breathing and difficulty talking.    

Pre-lockdown, those polled managed to exert themselves to this level for a total of two hours and 31 minutes a week, but this has now fallen to ‭one hour and 42 minutes‬‬‬‬‬

Similarly, average daily step counts have dropped too – falling from 8,363 to 6,256.

For 38 per cent of adults in Yorkshire, lack of motivation is one of the key reasons for not exerting themselves more.

However, around four in 10 would like to do more exercise than they’re managing at the moment - but aren’t sure how to go about it.

Coupled with this, 68 per cent admit they’ve been more indulgent with food since the lockdown came into effect, while 43 per cent have consumed more alcohol.

The Yorkshire Cancer Research study carried out through OnePoll found 37 per cent weren’t aware not being physically active could increase their risk of developing cancer.

The Government has several recommendations when it comes to the amount of physical activity adults should manage during a typical week.

This includes at least 150 minutes of ‘moderate intensity activity’ or 75 minutes of ‘vigorous intensity activity - if already active.

Or shorter periods of ‘very vigorous activity’ - such as sprinting or weight exercises - or a combination of all of these. 

Dr Kathryn Scott added: “We certainly share concerns about not being physically active and the impact this could have on health. 

“What is reassuring though is that so many people are taking the health impacts seriously.

“We hope this increased awareness will serve as a motivation for being more active.”

Infographic: New lock down activities have moved into the top 10 ways to exercise


1.    Walking 
2.    Cleaning 
3.    Gardening 
4.    Gym 
5.    Running 
6.    Cycling 
7.    Workouts (e.g. YouTube workouts, fitness DVDs) 
8.    Weight lifting/lifting heavy objects 
9.    Dancing 
10.    Yoga


1.    Walking 
2.    Cleaning 
3.    Gardening 
4.    Grocery shopping 
5.    Doing DIY 
6.    Workouts (e.g. YouTube workouts, fitness DVDs) 
7.    Running 
8.    Playing with the kids 
9.    Cycling 
10.    Yoga 


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