Adults get 'F' for physical activity, slow to return to gym
Avid gym-goers in Timmins were eager to return to their usual workouts once gyms reopened, according to local gym manager Tiffanie Veilleux, but she adds that there are still stragglers who are slow to return to their pre-pandemic routines.
She feels COVID-19 is still keeping some people at home.
"What we've seen is it's slower for people that are older, obviously, and who are a little bit nervous coming back to a social setting," said Veilleux, who is also a kinesiologist.
The global health crisis had many people adopt a more sedentary lifestyle by staying at home, which is what a new 'Adult Report Card' from ParticipACTION said contributed to giving Canadians an 'F' for sedentary behaviour.
The report showed that around 90 per cent of people ages 18 to 79 spend at least eight hours a day sitting or lying down (outside of sleep), which researcher Leigh Vanderloo notes contributes to a variety of health problems.
"Increased risk for type two diabetes, high blood pressure, musculoskeletal issues," Vanderloo said.
"(Also) increased symptoms of anxiety and depression, more difficult time managing stress."
Vanderloo said the transitioning of many people to working from home has reduced opportunities for activities like walking to a transit stop to get to work, a colleague's desk, or the lunchroom during a break.
Walking or cycling to different locations has taken a plunge, which earned Canadians another 'F' grade for active transportation.
Though there have been campaigns encouraging people to get outside and engage in high-movement activities, Vanderloo said people are staying still for much of the day.
That was a prevalent issue in pre-pandemic society as well, she said.
"We rely heavily on convenience. A lot of us are using cars to get from point 'A' to point 'B,'" Vanderloo said, adding that sedentary entertainment like streaming services is contributing to poorer health.
But health experts are assuring people that it's not a hopeless situation, saying that even small changes to one's routine can make a major difference.
"Anything is better than nothing right now," Veilleux said, "If you're sitting at home not doing anything, five minutes a day is an increase in activity.
"That's what we want to see from sedentary people. Just a small increase, because that's how we develop habits."