Physical Activity Analysis of College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic Using Smartphones

Yuuki Nishiyama, Yuui Kakino, Enishi Naka, Yuka Noda, Satsuki Hashiba, Yusuke Yamada, Wataru Sasaki, Tadashi Okoshi, Jin Nakazawa, Masaki Mori, Hisashi Mizutori, Kotomi Shiota, Tomohisa Nagano, Yuko Tokairin, Takaaki Kato

Owing to the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19), several universities have closed their campuses for preventing the spread of infection. Consequently, the university classes are being held over the Internet, and students attend these classes from their homes. While the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be prolonged, the online-centric lifestyle has raised concerns about secondary health issues caused by reduced physical activity (PA). However, the actual status of PA among university students has not yet been examined in Japan. Hence, in this study, we collected daily PA data (including the data corresponding to the number of steps taken and the data associated with six types of activities) by employing smartphones and thereby analyzed the changes in the PA of university students. The PA data were collected over a period of ten weeks from 305 first-year university students who were attending a mandatory class of physical education at the university. The obtained results indicate that compared to the average number of steps taken before the COVID-19 pandemic (6474.87 steps), the average number of steps taken after the COVID-19 pandemic (3522.5 steps) has decreased by 45.6%. Furthermore, the decrease in commuting time (7 AM to 10 AM), classroom time, and extracurricular activity time (11 AM to 12 AM) has led to a decrease in PA on weekdays owing to reduced unplanned exercise opportunities and has caused an increase in the duration of being in the stationary state in the course of daily life.

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