How have public health measures in Canada influenced the physical activity and well-being of the population?

Bottom Line:

This study found that there was variability in the changes of activity habits of Canadians due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Reduced levels of activity, in addition to reduced moderate to vigorous exercise, were associated with a decreased state of well-being and increased anxiety levels.


Lesser, I.A. et al. The Impact of COVID-19 on Physical Activity Behavior and Well-Being of Canadians. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health (2020). DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17113899

Date Published:

31 May 2020


Current public health measures in Canada have had impacts on the daily habits of a significant portion of the country’s residents. As a result of park closures and various other rules, this study sought to investigate whether the physical activity and well-being of Canadians has been altered. They found that 40.5% of individuals who were already previously inactive had become more inactive due to the outbreak. However, only 22.4% of individuals who were previously active became less active. On the other hand, it was also found that 33% of previously inactive people became more active, and this group reported that more of their exercise was completed with others. In the context of well-being, it was found that individuals who were inactive had reduced well-being when compared to those who are active. Additionally, levels of anxiety were found to be higher in both the inactive and active populations when less moderate to vigorous exercise was completed. Ultimately, this study suggested that physical activity-promoting measures should be enacted to improve the well-being of inactive Canadians.

Summary by: Max Solish