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Ca exercise & wellness study report 10 15

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California study of impact from COVID-19 lockdowns on exercise and health

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Ca exercise & wellness study report 10 15

  1. 1. © 2020 Emicity Emicity Research California Exercise & Wellness Report October 2020
  2. 2. © 2020 Emicity Study Origins Substantial research and reporting have covered the health consequences of COVID-19 among at-risk populations. However, little research has examined the impact of COVID on the health-maintaining behaviors of people who were fit and healthy at the beginning of the pandemic. In pursuit of that knowledge, Emicity Research sought to examine how the COVID pandemic has changed the exercise and fitness behaviors of people who regularly engaged in exercise prior to the pandemic beginning. Emicity hypothesized that the lockdown orders put in place to mitigate COVID spread are also contributing to a decline in the overall health and fitness of the population. Since regular exercise and fitness may help to mitigate severe COVID complications, such declines in fitness and health may increase the number of people at risk for severe COVID reactions – potentially exacerbating the public health crisis as the outbreak progresses. California Exercise & Wellness Report 2 Study Overview Methodology California emerged as an intriguing focus for this research based on several factors: California is consistently ranked among the fittest states in the United States (https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/slideshows/the-10-healthiest-states-in-the-us?slide=11) California was one of the early hotspots for COVID – as a result, Californians have been living under lockdown orders for longer than much of the country. The lockdown orders in California continue to specifically ban the opening of gyms and health clubs throughout most of the state In order to ensure that our sample was comprised of Californians who were regularly engaged with exercise and fitness prior to the pandemic, Emicity recruited respondents from the membership lists of 13 gym and fitness organizations across California. Potential respondents were invited to participate in an online survey and share their experiences with health and fitness during the pandemic. No incentive was offered for participation. All conclusions are drawn from differences observed in the data that are statistically significant at the 90% confidence level.
  3. 3. © 2020 Emicity California Exercise & Wellness Report 3 Sample Characteristics Age demographics Ages 18-35: 20% Ages 36-59: 47% Ages 60+: 33% 54% female / 45% male / 1% non-binary Household income demographics Under $50K: 16% $50K - $99K: 29% $100K+: 35% Note: 20% did not share their income Ethnicity demographics (multiple response) Caucasian / White: 59% Hispanic / Latino: 22% Asian: 8% African-American / Black: 3% Note: 9% did not share their ethnicity A total of 2,400 Californians completed the 15-minute online survey. All respondents were screened for California residence, age, and gym/health club membership at the onset of the pandemic.
  4. 4. © 2020 Emicity Far from being motivated by pure vanity, the vast majority of fitness-oriented Californians exercise in pursuit of a variety of physical and mental health benefits. California Exercise & Wellness Report 4 Top 10 Reasons Californians Exercise Overall physical health 82% Stress relief 72% Overall mental health 68% Weight loss / Weight management 63% Maintain/improve my physical appearance 60% Strength-building 58% Preventative health 55% Time for myself 53% Reduce the symptoms of anxiety or depression 46% Endurance 36%
  5. 5. © 2020 Emicity 75% 46% 44% 32% 31% 24% 22% Gym/ health club Accessible outdoor spaces Medical professionals/ facilities Places of worship Pharmacies/ drug stores Hair salons/ barbershops Restaurants/ bars Resources Relied on to Maintain or Improve Overall Sense of Well-Being Prior to COVID-19 Shutdowns % Critically important to me Prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns, fitness-oriented Californians relied heavily on their gym or health club to maintain and improve their overall sense of well-being—significantly more than they relied on medical professionals, places of worship, or a number of other public venues that have since re-opened after being shut down in the initial stages of the pandemic. 5California Exercise & Wellness Report
  6. 6. © 2020 Emicity 86% of fitness-oriented Californians report at least one negative health change since the closure of their health clubs/gyms California Exercise & Wellness Report 60% Report their overall physical health has changed for the worse 54% Report their mental health & wellbeing has changed for the worse 53% Report their weight has changed for the worse 47% Report their sleeping habits have changed for the worse 46% Report their eating habits have changed for the worse 60% Report their stress levels have increased
  7. 7. © 2020 Emicity 78% 60% Report their overall physical health has changed for the worse 53% Report their weight has changed for the worse 47% Report their sleeping habits have changed for the worse 46% Report their eating habits have changed for the worse California Exercise & Wellness Report of fitness-oriented Californians report at least one negative physical health change since the closure of their health clubs/gyms
  8. 8. © 2020 Emicity 54% Report their mental health & wellbeing has changed for the worse 60% Report their stress levels have increased 67% California Exercise & Wellness Report of fitness-oriented Californians report at least one negative mental health change since the closure of their health clubs/gyms
  9. 9. © 2020 Emicity Californian’s mental and physical health are heavily intertwined, and both have suffered during the past 7 months—primarily because people lack access to proper equipment and struggle to motivate themselves to exercise at home. Finding a space to exercise has been another significant problem during COVID-19 lockdowns. 9 What drove your negative physical health outcomes? I don’t have access to the right equipment 80% I struggle to motivate myself to exercise 67% My diet changed 37% I don’t have anywhere to exercise at home 36% I don’t have access to my group fitness classes 25% I can’t exercise with my usual partner(s) 19% I don’t have anywhere to exercise outdoors 18% What drove your negative mental health outcomes? I don’t have access to the right equipment 70% I struggle to motivate myself to exercise 60% I don’t have anywhere to exercise at home 31% My diet changed 31% I don’t have access to my group fitness classes 22% I can’t exercise with my usual partner(s) 19% I don’t have anywhere to exercise outdoors 17% California Exercise & Wellness Report
  10. 10. © 2020 Emicity 43% 26% 62% 48% 34%32% 14% 43% 36% 21% I don’t have anywhere to exercise in my home I don’t have anywhere to exercise outside I don’t have access to a safe outdoor space where I can exercise I don’t have access to a large enough outdoor space to exercise I cannot easily travel to an outdoor space to exercise Factors Disproportionately Driving Down Physical Health in Lower Socio-economic Households since Covid-19 < $75,000 HHI $75,000+ HHI Why can’t you exercise outside? Several factors driving the decline in physical health have disproportionately impacted less affluent Californians – including a lack of interior exercise space as well as access to outdoor space that is safe, large enough, and within easy traveling distance from home. As a result of these factors, the median household income among those who stopped exercising during COVID was $25,000 less than the median income among those who continued to exercise. 10California Exercise & Wellness Report
  11. 11. © 2020 Emicity Fitness-oriented Californians do not see digital fitness aids as a viable replacement for their gym or health club. 95% of fitness-oriented Californians have been unable to replicate or replace key components of their gym experience at home, even with an increased reliance on digital exercise tools. The lack of access to proper equipment (56%) was the most cited deficit when comparing at-home exercise to exercise at a gym – most Californians have simply been unable to replicate their gym-based exercise regimen given the equipment available to them at home. Though usage of digital exercise tools (online classes, personal training apps, tutorials, etc.) has nearly doubled during the pandemic, the vast majority view these as stopgap measures rather than a replacement for their gym or fitness center. California Exercise & Wellness Report 11 21% 20% 10% 12% 12% 4% Cardio tools Strength tools Online classes Use of Digital Fitness Aids Before Covid During Covid 75% More of a supplement to in-person gym experience – still plan on returning to gym More of a replacement for gym experience – I don’t feel need to return to gym Don’t know yet – still figuring out what future exercise regimen will be How Those Digital Tools Are Viewed 75% 7% 18%
  12. 12. © 2020 Emicity 66% 61% 55% 54% 51% Exercise Stress level Weight Diet Age Factors Perceived to Reduce Risk of Serious Complications or Death from COVID-19 % Major impact Fitness-oriented Californians recognize the connection between good health and positive COVID outcomes: 74% say the pandemic has made them more conscious about the importance of good physical health, and exercise was most often credited as a factor that would improve their chances of recovery should they contract the disease—more than their weight, diet, or age. 12California Exercise & Wellness Report
  13. 13. © 2020 Emicity In spite of recognizing the connection between positive COVID outcomes and good physical health, COVID-related shutdowns have led nearly a third of fitness-oriented Californians to completely abandon their exercise and fitness regimens. Pre-COVID, 100% regularly exercised. During lockdown, only 69% have regularly exercised. Strength training decreased from 90% pre-COVID to 44% during lockdown Cardio exercise decreased from 95% pre-COVID to 61% during lockdown California Exercise & Wellness Report 13 34% decline 46% decline 34% decline Group fitness decreased from 46% pre-COVID to 12% during lockdown 31% decline
  14. 14. © 2020 Emicity Alarmingly, the fitness-oriented Californians who were most likely to have stopped all regular exercise during COVID are also those at greater risk for COVID complications and negative outcomes because of their underlying health problems. California Exercise & Wellness Report 14 5% 6% 14% 44% 7% 10% 23% 50% Lung/breathing issues Diabetes Heart-related issues Anxiety / Depression Frequency of Underlying Health Issues Stopped exercising during COVID Continued exercising during COVID Those who have stopped exercising were significantly more likely to state that they previously relied on exercise to minimize severe underlying physical health problems such as diabetes, heart-related issues (high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.), and lung/breathing-related issues (asthma, COPD, etc.). Additionally, those who have stopped exercising were significantly more likely to state that they previously relied on exercise to minimize underlying mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
  15. 15. © 2020 Emicity However, fitness-oriented Californians anticipate resuming (or expanding) their previous exercise habits once gyms and health clubs re-open. Strength training participation decreased from 90% pre- COVID to 44% during lockdown 94% expect to resume when gyms re-open Cardio exercise participation decreased from 95% pre- COVID to 61% during lockdown 95% expect to resume when gyms re-open California Exercise & Wellness Report 15 Full return to pre-COVID 4% gain over pre-COVID 6% gain over pre-COVID Group fitness participation decreased from 46% pre- COVID to 12% during lockdown 52% expect to resume when gyms re-open Full return to pre-COVID Post-lockdown, 99% anticipate returning to regular exercise. Pre-COVID, 100% regularly exercised. During lockdown, only 69% have regularly exercised.
  16. 16. © 2020 Emicity Overall, 88% of fitness-oriented Californians expect to return to their gyms when they re- open. Nearly half have no concerns about returning to their gyms during the pandemic, so long as concrete measures are put in place to ensure the safety of guests and workers. Concerns about returning to gyms and health clubs are comparable to other public venues related to health, fitness, and wellbeing. In order to feel comfortable returning to their gyms, Californians need to see specific protocols put in place to ensure their safety. The most frequently requested procedures included: Detailed cleaning regimens for the facility and equipment Enhanced air quality/filtration More sanitizing products made available to members High compliance in masking behavior among both members and staff Ability to social distance and/or limit crowding California Exercise & Wellness Report 16 39% 44% 45% 46% 52% Restaurants & bars Gyms / Health clubs Places of worship Medical facilities Hair salons / Barbershops Venues Californians are Comfortable Returning to Upon Re-Opening
  17. 17. © 2020 Emicity The ongoing COVID pandemic and concurrent lockdown procedures have led to a dramatic decline in exercise and fitness behavior among fitness-oriented Californians who previously exercised on a regular basis. The vast majority of fitness-oriented Californians can identify negative health outcomes from this decline, including negative changes in overall health (both physical and mental), sleep habits, weight, eating habits, and stress levels. Nearly a third of those who regularly exercised prior to the pandemic have ceased all regular exercise since the lockdown orders went into place. This decline in over all fitness and exercise behavior is largely due to a lack of access to proper exercise equipment, difficulties in self-motivating to exercise at home, and a lack of a space to exercise (either at home or outdoors). The cessation of regular exercise is more pronounced among lower income households, who also faced greater struggles to find places to exercise at home or outdoors. The cessation of regular exercise is also more pronounced among those who previously exercised to mitigate major health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, and COPD. Without the re-opening of gyms and health clubs, this pattern of complete exercise cessation (especially among individuals at high risk for COVID complications) has the potential to put further strain on physical and mental health resources as the pandemic progresses. Encouragingly, nearly every fitness-oriented Californian who regularly exercise pre-COVID anticipates returning to (or expanding) their exercise regimen once lockdown orders are loosened. Concerns about returning to gyms and health clubs were on par with concerns for returning to other public places. So long as adequate safety and cleaning protocols are put in place, the vast majority of fitness-oriented Californians are comfortable with and want to return to their gyms and health clubs to resume their exercise and fitness behaviors. California Exercise & Wellness Report 17 California Exercise & Wellness Report Discussion
  18. 18. © 2020 Emicity California Exercise & Wellness Report 18 For further information about the California Exercise & Wellness Report, please contact Kristopher Gauthier via email at Kristopher@emi.city.

California study of impact from COVID-19 lockdowns on exercise and health

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