Exercise psychologist and director of the Behavioural Medicine Lab at the University of Victoria, Ryan Rhodes, emphasizes the importance of exercise despite COVID-19 restrictions. (Courtesy of the University of Victoria)

Exercise psychologist and director of the Behavioural Medicine Lab at the University of Victoria, Ryan Rhodes, emphasizes the importance of exercise despite COVID-19 restrictions. (Courtesy of the University of Victoria)

Island-based research shows 20 per cent of Canadians became inactive during COVID-19

UVic exercise psychologist emphasizes need to form exercise habits during pandemic

New research out of the University of Victoria emphasizes the importance of incorporating exercise into people’s day-to-day routines, despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Ryan Rhodes, exercise psychologist and director of the Behavioural Medicine Lab at the university, found that since the start of the pandemic Canadian adults’ moderate to vigorous physical activity has declined on average by 46 minutes per week.

Broken down, the majority (58 per cent) of adults in their study reported that their level of physical activity had changed very little. Another 15 per cent struggled during the early weeks of the pandemic, but regained their physical activity. Six per cent became more active.

READ ALSO: Canadians not getting enough light exercise during pandemic, UBC study finds

READ ALSO: UVic study finds extroverts experiencing higher stress levels during pandemic

The group Rhodes is focusing on is the final 20 per cent who reported being active pre-pandemic and have since become inactive.

“It’s particularly a concern because movement behaviours are so linked to mental health and quality of life,” he said.

As winter approaches, Rhodes suggests people form new exercise habits to help get them through the darker, colder months.

He said the best way to establish new habits is by pairing them with certain cues, such as “Every morning, I drink my coffee, and then I go for a walk.” Linking physical activity with a particular time of day can be especially helpful, Rhodes suggested.

Less helpful are cues that never really change, such as a sticky note on the fridge saying, “Get active!”

Rhodes acknowledged that people are socially deprived right now too. “If you can take a socially distant walk with a friend or join an online class with other people, you can engage both your need for social activity as well as your need for physical activity,” he said.

“It’s probably more important now than ever to do that.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

CoronavirusGreater VictoriaresearchUniversity of Victoria

Just Posted

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

Tara Martin, head of the UBC Faculty of Forestry Conservation Decisions Lab, checks out some of the wildflowers that grow on SISCENEM, also known as Halibut Island located east off Sidney Island. Martin had brought the island to the attention of The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC), which subsequently bought the island, then transferred ownership to WSANEC Leadership Council under a historic first. (Alex Harris/Submitted)
An Island of reconcilation: conservancy turns $1.55 million over to First Nation

SISȻENEM (Halibut Island), off Sidney, transfers to W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council under historic deal

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

March 8 is International Women’s Day. (Stock photo)
Editorial: International Women’s Day can inspire us to recommit to equality

Let’s call out sexism, amplify feminism and keep working toward equality

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Office vacancy rates are rising in Greater Victoria while the supply of industrial land is shrinking. (Black Press Media File)
Report finds supply of industrial land in Greater Victoria shrinking

Office vacancy rates in Greater Victoria continue to rise

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Eaglecrest Golf Club plans to operate as a nine-hole course starting April 1. (Eaglecrest Facebook photo)
Eaglecrest Golf Club in Qualicum Beach still plans to have course layout reduced to 9 holes

Town council continues to negotiate lease for 18-hole operation

Nanaimo painter Shawnda Wilson hangs her exhibit Tropical Wallpaper at Jonny the Barber. The show runs until the end of March. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo painter battles pandemic blues with tropical exhibition

Shawnda Wilson presents ‘Tropical Wallpaper’ at Old City Quarter barbershop

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

Most Read