Physical activity among adults has fallen by a quarter since the lockdown came into effect – leading to a third putting on weight.
A poll of 2,000 adults found those who’ve increased in weight have put on an average of six lbs during recent weeks.
Coupled with this, the typical adult has gone from doing an average of two hours of physical activity a day prior to the restrictions to just one hour and 32 minutes now.
This includes everything from a short walk to cleaning the home.
As a result, the study commissioned by Yorkshire Cancer Research found 68 per cent are concerned about the impact of doing little or no physical exercise might have on their health.
Dr Kathryn Scott, chief executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “There’s no denying there are fewer ways of exercising at the moment.
“And with millions of adults working from home or looking after school children, many of us will have no cause to leave our homes – often for days at a time.
“But being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight is so crucial to reducing the likelihood of developing cancer.
“It’s really important to exercise when possible – and where safe to do so.”
In addition to overall levels of physical activity falling, the study also found levels of vigorous exercise – activity which causes hard and fast breathing and difficulty talking – have dropped considerably.
Pre-lockdown, those polled managed to exert themselves to this level for two hours and 47 minutes a week, but this has now fallen by almost an hour to just one hour and 54 minutes.
Similarly, average daily step counts have dropped from 8,534 to 6,169.
For 37 per cent of adults, a lack of motivation is one of the key reasons for not exerting themselves more.
However, around four in 10 would like to do more exercise than they’re managing at the moment – but aren’t sure how to go about it.
It also emerged two thirds have been more indulgent with food since the lockdown came into effect, while 43 per cent have consumed more alcohol.
The Yorkshire Cancer Research study, carried out through OnePoll, found four in 10 weren’t aware that not being physically active could increase their risk of developing cancer.
The Government has several recommendations when it comes to the amount of physical activity adults should manage during a typical week.
This includes at least 150 minutes of ‘moderate intensity activity’ or 75 minutes of ‘vigorous intensity activity – if already active.
Or shorter periods of ‘very vigorous activity’ – such as sprinting or weight exercises – or a combination of all of these.
Dr Kathryn Scott added: “We certainly share concerns about not being physically active and the impact this could have on health.
“What is reassuring though is that so many people are taking the health impacts seriously.
“We hope this increased awareness will serve as a motivation for being more active.”
MOST COMMON PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES PRE-LOCKDOWN:
4. Going to the gym
7. Workouts (e.g. YouTube workouts, fitness DVDS)
8. Weight lifting/lifting heavy objects
MOST COMMON PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES NOW:
4. Grocery shopping
5. Doing DIY
6. Workouts (e.g. YouTube workouts, fitness DVDS)
9. Playing with the kids