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Comparison of the Level of Physical Activity in Young Adults before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Longitudinal Study †

Institute of Health Sciences, Medical College, University of Rzeszów, Al. mjr. W. Kopisto 2a, 35-310 Rzeszów, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 1st International Electronic Conference on Medicine, 20–30 June 2021; Available online:
Med. Sci. Forum 2021, 6(1), 3;
Published: 30 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of The 1st International Electronic Conference on Medicine)


Background and Objectives: The frequency with which people leave their homes and the time they spend in recreational places is significantly reduced at a time of pandemic, particularly during lockdown, due to which it is significantly more difficult for them to be active. The aim of the study was to assess to what extent the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected young adults’ physical activity (PA). Materials and Methods: A total of 506 people aged 18 to 34 (24.67 years ± 4.23 years), who filled in a retrospective-pre-post online survey, qualified for the study. The survey began 12 days after the epidemic was announced at the site of the study, i.e., between weeks two and four of obligatory lockdown, including significant restriction of movement. The levels of physical activity and sedentary time were measured using a seven-item International Physical Activity Questionnaire—Short Form (IPAQ–SF). The respondents provided two answers to each question, i.e., information relating to the last 7 days during the pandemic (lockdown), and to a period of 7 days before the pandemic. Results: During the pandemic, young adults spent significantly less time performing physical activity, shown as median (Q1–Q3): Me = 8752.5 [5403.0–11,820.0] vs. 5483.0 [2380.0–9009.0] metabolic equivalents (MET) min/week (p < 0.001) and they spent more time engaging in sedentary behaviours, Me = 240 [120.0–360.0] vs. 300 [180.0–420.0] min/day (p < 0.001). During the pandemic, respondents spent less energy engaging in vigorous PA from Me = 480.00 [0.0–1920.0] vs. 0.00 [0.0–1920.0] (MET) min/week, 100% decline, (p < 0.001); or in moderate PA from Me = 360.00 [0.0–840.0] vs. 240.00 [0.0–720.0] (MET) min/week, 33.34% decline, and they walked much less from Me = 6930.0 [3762.0–9702.0] vs. 3861.0 [1485.0–7260.0] (MET) min/week, 44.29% decline (p < 0.001). Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic young adults are significantly less involved in PA, which adversely affects their health status, including their physical and mental condition. The importance of sufficient PA should be highlighted during this specific period, particularly among young people.

Supplementary Materials

The following are available online at, supplementary material: conference poster.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, E.C.-L., J.L.; methodology, J.W., J.L.; investigation, E.C.-L., J.W., J.L., A.W., resources, J.B., A.W.; data curation, E.C.-L. and J.W.; writing—original draft preparation, E.C.-L., J.W.; writing—review and editing, J.L and J.B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was conducted according to the guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki, and approved by the Ethics Committee of Rzeszów University (ref. no. 2/02/2019).

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

The data are available on reasonable request.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Czenczek-Lewandowska, E.; Wyszyńska, J.; Leszczak, J.; Baran, J.; Weres, A. Comparison of the Level of Physical Activity in Young Adults before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Longitudinal Study. Med. Sci. Forum 2021, 6, 3.

AMA Style

Czenczek-Lewandowska E, Wyszyńska J, Leszczak J, Baran J, Weres A. Comparison of the Level of Physical Activity in Young Adults before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Longitudinal Study. Medical Sciences Forum. 2021; 6(1):3.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Czenczek-Lewandowska, Ewelina, Justyna Wyszyńska, Justyna Leszczak, Joanna Baran, and Aneta Weres. 2021. "Comparison of the Level of Physical Activity in Young Adults before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Longitudinal Study" Medical Sciences Forum 6, no. 1: 3.

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