Each year Sport and Physical Activity survey our University community to find out about physical activity and wellbeing levels on campus and we are finally able to share with you our Balancing Life 2020 results, which specifically focus on the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown measures. The insight from Balancing Life plays a key role in shaping future plans and initiatives and in driving Sport and Physical Activity’s DO WHAT MOVES YOU strategy, which outlines our vision to make Leeds the best University to be active.
In recent times, things have been quite different, and many people’s lives have changed significantly due to Covid-19. With the country now entering it’s third lockdown period and with gyms and leisure centres currently closed there is once again more of an emphasis on exercising at home or outdoors. This was also the case when we launched our survey in May 2020, where we asked people to reflect on the 4 weeks previous when strict restrictions were in place. We were keen to explore how social distancing measures and a period of being told to ‘stay home’, impacted upon habits and attitudes towards physical activity; as well as the overall wellbeing of our University community.
The results identified quite a significant difference in physical activity and wellbeing levels compared to the year previous. Below are our main headline results.
57% of you are ‘active’ meaning that you take part in the recommended 150+ minutes of physical activity per week, compared to 75% in the 2019 results. This shows that activity levels dropped significantly due to the impact of Covid-19 with 82% saying their habits around physical activity had changed due to the impact of lockdown (41% of which said they were less physically active). 50% said that they would exercise more again once restrictions had eased. Results echo those at national level found via the Active Lives Coronavirus Report.
Although 82% said they considered it important to take part in sport and physical activity, there are clearly barriers preventing this, with workload / study commitments, not having the right equipment and caring responsibilities being the most common for staff and students.
We used the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale to assess wellbeing levels amongst staff and students and found a slight drop in wellbeing levels compared to last year. Results did however show positive correlations between physical activity and wellbeing, with 86% of those classed as ‘active’ scoring high on SWEMWBS. Comparably, 55% of those with low wellbeing scores also reported that they had become less physically active as a result of lockdown.
We have been working hard to continue to provide physical activity opportunities for both staff and students during the pandemic and will continue to do so.
The Edge’s Your Home, Your Move hub includes a range of live streamed exercise classes and pre recorded content as well as blogs and other information to keep you healthy that you can access at home.
The Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) team have been running monthly virtual run relays for our staff community and have recently introduced monthly step challenges. This is a great way for staff members to stay connected with others and keep active whilst working remotely. Staff can also access virtual yoga and Pilates classes.
Students can access a range of free virtual wellbeing classes including Mindfulness, Yoga and HIIT. Details can be found on LUU’s What’s On page. We also trialled some student run relays last term so keep an eye out for more of these this term!
For more information about the activities you can get involved in or if you have any questions about this survey and the results, please visit our Balancing Life webpage, where you can get in touch via a feedback form.