While lockdown saw an uptake of active travel for some, resulting in bicycle shops unable to meet demand, for others it meant they were less likely to keep up their active lifestyle during the coronavirus pandemic, the Health Improvement Commission’s Be Active lead Alun Williams has said.
Exercise was classed as one of the only exceptional reasons for islanders to spend time outside their house during lockdown, first for two hours and later extended to four hours.
‘Many local families have commented upon the positive impact of physical activity during lockdown in Guernsey,’ he said.
‘The commitment by island leaders to prioritise exercise at that time has done much to demonstrate the value and importance of keeping active for our physical and mental wellbeing.
‘Many Guernsey families took advantage of the quieter roads to explore the wonderful environment on our doorstep, however, not everyone found it easy to keep active and got out of the habit of being active.’
He said that actions needed to be taken now to ensure that the island’s response would work to support all to be more active, more often.
‘There is no room for complacency, especially as we need every sector of the community to engage in keeping active the norm and easy to do,’ he added.
‘A concern that I have is that the current situation could widen inequalities when it comes to participation in physical activity.
‘Those who have been isolating, had to juggle jobs, children, home schooling, may find it harder to fit physical activity in and potential increases in unemployment, lower incomes and housing concerns could make this worse.’
Globally there has been evidence that young people have become less active with studies in England, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada identifying that young people have fallen out of the habit of being active.
‘We are not alone in needing to create a post-lockdown environment where physical activity is easy to fit in to our daily lives and routines,’ Mr Williams said.