Wednesday 22 September 2021

Despite coronavirus, more people are meeting official guidelines on exercise

Although more people said they did less to keep in shape during the coronavirus pandemic last year, and the total distance cycled was down, more people in the Netherlands are meeting official guidelines on exercise, public health institute RIVM said on Wednesday.

Between 30% and 50% of people questioned for an RIVM survey said they were doing less physically during the lockdown and just 15% said they were more active. However, the number of people actually doing the recommended amount of exercise rose from 49% in 2019 to 53% last year, the RIVM researchers found.

People were more likely to be active around the house and in their neighbourhood, particularly those with paid work, higher incomes and children living at home, the RIVM said.

‘People are often not aware of everything that they are doing,’ researcher Wanda Wendel-Vos told broadcaster NOS. ‘But we include doing jobs around the house, including clearing up the attic and gardening.’

Government guidelines suggest adults should spend at least 2.5 hours a week doing moderately intensive exercise and should work out their muscles at least twice a week. Gyms and fitness centres were closed for much of last year because of coronavirus.

The RIVM research also showed that while the number of people taking part in some form of sport at least once a week was unchanged, they were exercising more often – three to four times a week, rather than three.

On Tuesday road users organisation Bovag said the Dutch cycled fewer kilometres last year, thanks to working from home and closed schools and daycare centre. However, cycling for fun was more popular. The Dutch covered 30% more kilometres by bike on days out or while taking exercise, Bovag said.

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