Preferred Name

Brynn Hudgins

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

5-6-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Department of Kinesiology

Advisor(s)

Trent A. Hargens

Stephanie P. Kurti-Luden

Elizabeth S. Edwards

Abstract

Reaching recommended levels of physical activity (PA) is important for achieving and maintaining health, however there are many potential barriers which may impact an individual’s ability to engage in PA. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the transition to remote teaching and learning, shut-downs of places to engage in PA, and changes to the daily work routine of university staff. Therefore, overall PA levels were likely impacted. The purpose of this study was to assess whether a significant change in PA occurred before and after one university transitioned to remote learning and working due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Subjects were recruited from a university community who owned and wore a commercial PA monitoring device for the month before and after spring break in March of 2020. During the spring break, the campus went from in-person instruction to 100% online instruction. Subjects completed an anonymous online survey and uploaded step data from their online account. Repeated measures analysis of variance were applied to analyze differences between students and faculty/staff of the university. Paired sample and independent t-tests were utilized to examine differences before and after spring break. Pearson correlations were calculated to determine relationships between age, body mass index (BMI), and PA change data. Eighty subjects (63 female, 17 male) completed the survey. The sample included 42 students (age = 22.2 ± 6.3, BMI = 24.0 ± 5.7) and 38 staff and faculty (age = 43.1 ± 10.7, BMI = 29.0 ± 7.0). The 30-day step average for the month after spring break (7085.8 ± 3559.6) was lower than the 30-day step average for the month before spring break (8522.6 ± 3230.8, P < 0.001). The 7-day mean step average for the week after spring break (7128.2 ± 3365.3) vs. the week after was also lower (8688.7 ± 3365.3, P < 0.001). Weekday step averages were lower after spring break (6903.3 ± 3487.9) vs. before (8678.7 ± 3199.4), P < 0.001), as were weekend step averages (7571.7 ± 4222.9 vs. 8116.6 ± 3830.4, for after and before break, respectively, P = 0.03). Results found that physical activity levels were altered after the transition to online learning. Overall, PA declined immediately after the week of spring break, as well as for the month after spring break. This change is likely a reflection of the significant amount of everyday transport PA that is needed to navigate daily life on a university campus (walking to class, to work, walking associated with job duties, etc.) that was removed due to stay-at-home orders, and could impact the health of these individuals as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Available for download on Saturday, April 23, 2022

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