The Open Public Health Journal

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Physical Activity at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Two Most-affected Cities in Saudi Arabia

Faisal A Barwais1, *
1 Department of Physical Education and Sports, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia



During the COVID-19 pandemic, sufficient physical activity has had a positive effect on physical and mental health. This study aimed to assess levels of physical activity among Saudi participants before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The study included 244 young and middle-aged Saudi adults (154 males, 90 females), (mean age ± SD, 33.8 ± 7.7 years). All subjects completed an online self-report questionnaire to determine their physical activity levels over the last 7 days. Paired t-tests were used to determine if there were significant differences in the total MET-minutes/week of physical activity (i.e., insufficiently active and sufficiently active) between different variables of physical activity-related social contexts.


A significant decrease (57.1%) in the time spent performing physical activity before and during the COVID-19 lockdown was observed. No significant difference in total MET-min/week of physical activity before and during the lockdown was observed for the participants who participated in physical activity with a personal trainer (before = 2207 ± 389.3 MET-min/week; during = 2077 ± 201.5 MET-min/week). However, results indicated significant decreases in physical activity for participants who performed physical activity alone (59%), with family (61.6%), with friends (62%), or with groups (61.3%).


The results of this study showed a significant decrease in the amount of time spent in physical activity levels during the COVID-19 lockdown than before the lockdown period. These findings may have implications for the essential development of public health initiatives that aim to increase physical activity levels during the pandemic. This study adds to the knowledge base by showing how people during the COVID-19 lockdown have more time to be physically active at home; nevertheless, this study indicates that participants are insufficiently physically active.

Keywords: Coronavirus, IPAQ, Public health interventions, Social contexts, Subjective assessment, Lockdown.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2020
Volume: 13
First Page: 470
Last Page: 476
Publisher Id: TOPHJ-13-470
DOI: 10.2174/1874944502013010470

Article History:

Received Date: 21/05/2020
Revision Received Date: 30/07/2020
Acceptance Date: 31/07/2020
Electronic publication date: 22/09/2020
Collection year: 2020

© 2020 Faisal A Barwais.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Physical Education and Sports, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia P O Box 715, Makkah 21421; Tel: +966125501000; E-mail:

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