Changes to Physical Activity Levels in Adults Aged 50+ in the First Six Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2022 Jun 9;8:23337214221106848. doi: 10.1177/23337214221106848. eCollection 2022 Jan-Dec.


The purpose of this study is to qualitatively explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults' PA nearly 6 months into the pandemic. Approximately 230 interviews were conducted with a diverse sample of participants (22.1% Black and 10.8% Hispanic). Data were transcribed in fall 2020 and analyzed using NVivo 12. Overall, most older adults (54.6%) interviewed reported no change in their PA, often reporting that their work kept them active. Decreases in PA for older adults (42.7%) were attributed to little social connectedness and stay-at-home restrictions. The few reporting an increase in PA (2.6%) had more time available to be active, including setting goals while staying home. This data provides an insight on how COVID-19 impacted PA levels for older adults. These findings can inform tailored interventions to promote PA during the pandemic.

Keywords: interview; physical health; safety measures; social connectedness.