The Evaluation of Physical Activity Habits in North Italian People before and during COVID-19 Quarantine: A Pilot Study

Mario Mauro, Alessia Grigoletto*, Maria Cristina Zambon, Marzia Bettocchi, Francesco Pegreffi, Carmela Fimognari, Laura Bragonzoni, Pasqualino Maietta Latessa*, Stefania Toselli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


COVID-19 caused a global pandemic state. Many governments enforced quarantines which had several negative effects on peoples’ health. The present study aimed to investigate the social restriction effects on the physical activity (PA) habits of north Italian people and understand whether PA was a healthy support during lockdown. Moreover, it analysed some possible strategies which could promote an active lifestyle when the pandemic ends. A new questionnaire was proposed (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.816), and 309 surveys were collected in people from two Italian regions (53.72% from Emilia-Romagna and 46.28% from Veneto; 62.46% were female and 37.54% were male; and the age range was 46.67 ± 15.45 years). The number of younger people (≤ 25 years) who practiced PA increased during lockdown (p < 0.01); in addition, they were more active than people who were 26-35 years old (p < 0.001). The training frequency before COVID-19 was higher in females than males (p = 0.01), and the frequency of weekly PA increased during lockdown in groups aged 26-35 years (p < 0.001). Despite the fact that PA was a psychological support during lockdown (p < 0.001), performing forced home-based PA demotivated people (p < 0.001). Finally, people thought to practice outdoor PA (OPA) at the end of lockdown because they wanted to retain contact with nature, which can improve psychological well-being. Future strategies to promote OPA may increase participation in PA, especially in older people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1660
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • COVID-19 quarantine
  • Green spaces
  • Health
  • Physical activity


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