IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 12521: The Influence of Easing COVID-19 Restrictions on the Physical Activity Intentions and Perceived Barriers to Physical Activity in UK Older Adults (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
COVID-19 has had profound effects on physical activity behaviours of older adults, and understanding this impact is essential to driving public health policies to promote healthy ageing. The present study aimed to determine; (1) intended physical activity behaviours of older adults following the easing of UK COVID-19 restrictions; (2) the relationship between self-reported physical activity and intended physical activity behaviour; (3) perceived barriers to achieving the intended physical activity goal. Ninety-six participants (74.8 ± 4.4 years; 52 female) from a longitudinal study examining the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity were recruited. Participants outlined their future physical activity intentions and completed the COM-B Self Evaluation Questionnaire. Participants were split into groups based on their intention to ‘Maintain’ (n= 29), ‘Increase’ (n = 38) or ‘Return’ (n = 29) to pre-COVID-19 physical activity. Self-reported physical activity undulated over the pandemic but was mostly equivalent between groups. Intended physical activity behaviour was independent of self-report physical activity. Capability and motivation factors were the most frequently cited barriers to the intended physical activity behaviour, with a greater number of capability barriers in the ‘Return’ group. Such barriers should be considered in the COVID-19 recovery public health physical activity strategy for promoting healthy ageing.