Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fitness routines of college students and faculty

PURPOSE: The rapid transition 10 emergency remote teaching and the temporary closure of fitness facilities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic had profound impacts on the daily fitness routines of both college students and faculty. The purpose of this study was to examine the initial effects of the temporary fitness facility closures from March-July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on the fitness routines of college students and faculty at a regional University. 
METHODS: A sample of 250 students and faculty (age=18-60yrs: n= 45 males n= 200 females) participated in an online, mixed methods survey of reported exercise frequency (0, 1-2, 3-4. 5,6, 7 days/wk), type, and motivation (Likert scale) before (PRE), during (DUR), and after (POST) initial COVID·19 gym closures and physical distancing protocols. Paired Samples t·tests and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were used to determine the differences and relationships between the variables over time. 
RESULTS: The majority or the participants (75/32.33%) reported a PRE exercise frequency of 3-4days/wk. However, during COVID-19 (DUR), most participants reported an exercise frequency of 1·2 days/wk (35.78%) which was significantly lower than exercise frequency PRE COVID-19 (p=0.00). The majority of participants (67/29%) reported a POST exercise frequency of 1·2 days/wk, which was significantly lower than PRE (p=0.00). On a Likert-scale of 0·5, there was a significant difference in exercise motivation
between PRE (3.8± 1.14), DUR (2.8±1.30, p=0.00), POST (3.5±1.21. p=0.00) conditions. A strong positive correlation was found between PRE frequency and PRE motivation (r=0.704, p=0.00).
CONCLUSIONS: The COVI0-19 pandemic significantly negatively impacted the exercise frequency and exercise motivation of university students and faculty. Frequency and exercise motivation levels did not return to PRE-levels, even after distancing protocols were relaxed and fitness facilities reopened. This study highlights the importance of strategies to influence exercise habits, and these results are important for researchers and practitioners to further investigate emerging technologies and platforms that improve exercise frequency and motivation in this population.
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Abstract/Description: PURPOSE: The rapid transition 10 emergency remote teaching and the temporary closure of fitness facilities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic had profound impacts on the daily fitness routines of both college students and faculty. The purpose of this study was to examine the initial effects of the temporary fitness facility closures from March-July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on the fitness routines of college students and faculty at a regional University. METHODS: A sample of 250 students and faculty (age=18-60yrs: n= 45 males n= 200 females) participated in an online, mixed methods survey of reported exercise frequency (0, 1-2, 3-4. 5,6, 7 days/wk), type, and motivation (Likert scale) before (PRE), during (DUR), and after (POST) initial COVID·19 gym closures and physical distancing protocols. Paired Samples t·tests and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were used to determine the differences and relationships between the variables over time. RESULTS: The majority or the participants (75/32.33%) reported a PRE exercise frequency of 3-4days/wk. However, during COVID-19 (DUR), most participants reported an exercise frequency of 1·2 days/wk (35.78%) which was significantly lower than exercise frequency PRE COVID-19 (p=0.00). The majority of participants (67/29%) reported a POST exercise frequency of 1·2 days/wk, which was significantly lower than PRE (p=0.00). On a Likert-scale of 0·5, there was a significant difference in exercise motivation between PRE (3.8± 1.14), DUR (2.8±1.30, p=0.00), POST (3.5±1.21. p=0.00) conditions. A strong positive correlation was found between PRE frequency and PRE motivation (r=0.704, p=0.00). CONCLUSIONS: The COVI0-19 pandemic significantly negatively impacted the exercise frequency and exercise motivation of university students and faculty. Frequency and exercise motivation levels did not return to PRE-levels, even after distancing protocols were relaxed and fitness facilities reopened. This study highlights the importance of strategies to influence exercise habits, and these results are important for researchers and practitioners to further investigate emerging technologies and platforms that improve exercise frequency and motivation in this population.
Subject(s): Undergraduate Research
Covid-19
Exercise routines
University population