Kiwis are being urged to make the most of daylight savings by being physically active, after a survey from Sport NZ found people are exercising less than usual.
Sport NZ research has revealed that in June this year, adults spent an average of 4.52 hours per week being physically active, which is down from 5.40 hours for a normal June (2017-19) and lower than the 5.61 hours during April when New Zealand was in alert level 4 lockdown as a result of COVID-19.
Children aged five to 17 averaged 8.20 hours per week in June, which was up slightly from 8.14 hours in April but much lower than 9.70 hours in a normal June.
Sport NZ general manager of community sport Geoff Barry says their findings show a lack of energy (26 percent) and motivation (22 percent) were the biggest factors in people not exercising as much.
Barry says COVID-19 has resulted in a decline in activity, despite the increase in exercise during the nation-wide lockdown.
“It’s clear COVID-19 has disrupted people’s habits when it comes to being physically active and that’s something we need to learn from with the prospect of moving up and down in alert levels, particularly the restrictions recently experienced in Auckland,” he says.
“During level 4 lockdown, adults turned to simple activities like walking, running and cycling to raise their activity levels. That serves as a reminder of how simple being active can be.
“If sports and events are cancelled, or there are restrictions on gyms and studios, there are still a host of enjoyable and accessible ways to remain physically active, and daylight savings is the ideal time of the year to get outside and get into them.
“One in five adults are telling us that being out of the habit is preventing them from being active. That’s not a result we’d normally see and suggests the extent to which the impacts of COVID-19 have disrupted people’s routine.
“Lack of energy and motivation are two of the top barriers for young people, and both are higher than in a normal June, which suggests a lingering effect of COVID-19 on physical activity.
“We believe the secret to breaking down these barriers is to draw motivation from getting back into the habit of being active, and to do this in new and simple ways if your favourite activities are not available.
“The arrival of daylight savings is the perfect time to do this. We have an extra hour – let’s make it count.”
During lockdowns, Kiwis had to find unique and unorthodox methods to stay fit with gyms closed and sporting events cancelled.