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Physical Activity Council COVID-19 Findings, July 2020 Update

August 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

1.  Questions

  • What sports or activities have you had to stop or could not participate in due to COVID-19 pandemic/restrictions?
  • What sports or activities have you started to participate in due to COVID-19 pandemic/restrictions? Please select all that apply.
  • Have you had any of the following team sports seasons canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic/restrictions?
  • How have you stayed connected to your sport?
  • Once the restrictions are lifted, what sport/activity are you most looking forward to doing?
  • What 2 or 3 sports/activities would you consider being the safest to participate in as the COVID-19 pandemic eases?

The following extract comes from the May and June sample of 3,000 nationally representative interviews. They have not been weighted.

2.   Summary

  • Team sports and fitness activities that aren’t easily replicated at home were the most impacted in May/June. There were significant differences between geographies. Urban areas were the most impacted followed by suburban areas and then rural/town. Outdoor sports especially were less impacted in rural areas.
  • Americans took up new sports in significant numbers. The biggest gains were walking for fitness, yoga, running, dumbbells, treadmill, cycling, and hiking. More passive activities such as home improvements and gardening gained more new participants than all sports apart from walking for fitness. Calisthenics, stationary cycling, and dance/step choreographed to music saw above-average gains in urban areas. Suburban areas saw well above average numbers of new cyclists. Rural areas saw the lowest averages for yoga, dance/step, and stationary bikes.
  • Americans have still found ways to keep engaged with their sport. The most common ways were:
    • Team sports: backyard play, physical training, and video games
    • Tennis: hitting against a wall, watching instruction, and playing tennis video games
    • Golf: playing video games, chipping and putting inside or in the yard
    • Walking and cycling: still active but staying close to home
  • In an open-ended question, Americans are most looking forward to resuming swimming, gym activities, basketball, and soccer.
  • We also asked what sports the respondent felt were the safest to participate in. Walking, running, and hiking were clear leaders in the number of mentions but home exercise, golf, tennis, and swimming were all close for 4th
  • Comparison of raw participation rates Apr/May/Jun 2019 with Apr/May/Jun 2020 showed some interesting Pre- and Post-COVID gains and losses. The biggest increases were: hiking, tennis, table tennis, basketball, soccer, and cycling. The biggest decreases were treadmill, aquatic exercise, stationary cycling (group), star-climbing machine, HIIT, and weight-resistance machines.

3.   Key Results

  • What sports or activities have you had to stop or could not participate in due to COVID-19 pandemic/restrictions?
    • We have now interpreted this as “impacted” rather than “stopped” as these participants are very likely to play/participate again within the calendar year 2020.
    • The following tables show the grouped sports (with participation rates typically greater than 2%). The tables are color-coded with red for the largest impact and blue for the least impact.

Download the PDF to see the full results: PAC Covid 19 findings July update


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