Exploring the impact of the COVID-19 provincial lockdown on adults' physical activity practices


COVID-19 lockdowns impacts many facets of individuals' lives, including their physical activity. The purpose of this study was to describe adults' physical activity experiences during the Omicron variant lockdown in Ontario. An online survey targeting adults (18 years +) living in Ontario was distributed using social media. Participants reported their physical activity levels and changes in physical activity during the lockdown. They also completed an open-ended question regarding their physical activity experiences during the lockdown. Grounded in a post-positive paradigm, a content analysis was used to categorize the qualitative data on reasons why participants reported being more, less, or as activity during than prior the lockdown. Of the 153 participants who completed the online survey, 51 responded to the open-ended question. Participants (n=22) who reported no change in physical activity levels expressed that being aware of the benefits of PA (n = 17) and feeling guilty when not engaging in PA (n = 5) are reasons why they remained active. Participants (n = 17) who reported increasing their physical activity noted awareness of their personal values (n = 7), enjoyment in PA (n = 6), and PA goals (n = 4) were reasons for their increase. Finally, lack of motivation was the main reason reported by participants (n = 12) who were less active during the Omicron lockdown. Findings could inform interventions that teaching the ability to reflect on the benefits of PA and its alignment to one's values may help adults continue being active during unexpected events like lockdowns.