Objective: COVID-19 is linked with significant mortality and morbidity. To curb the spread of the pandemic, curfews and lockdowns were imposed in many countries, leading to reduced physical activity (PA) irrespective of race, ethnicity, or income level. Although some papers documented how PA level was affected by COVID-19 in children and elderly in some countries, no similar data is available in Turkey during the pandemic. Therefore, we aimed to document the changes in step count in Turkey following the first reported case.
Materials and Methods: A total of 1427 participants were included in the study (male: n=242, female: n=1185), and were asked to fill out an online survey with questions on demographic information, working conditions, medical history, and average daily step count for two months before (January-February) and after (March-April) the outbreak of COVID-19 (10 March) in Turkey. Two-way repeated measure variance analysis and independent-sample t-tests were used to analyze the data.
Results: Data revealed that step count/day decreased by 43.5% (pre: 6564 ± 3615 steps/day vs. during: 3707 ± 3006 steps/day; p<0.05) during the pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic, with no difference between males (32.9%) and females (45.9%) (p>0.05). A similar significant reduction (p>0.05) in step count was observed in the working (pre: 6795 ± 3832 steps/day vs. post: 4027 ± 3223 steps/day) and unemployed adults (pre: 6337 ± 3374 steps/day vs. post: 3390 ± 2742 steps/day) (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Compared with the pre-pandemic, step count markedly decreased in all groups during the pandemic in Turkey, regardless of gender and medical condition. This study provides preliminary data on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted step count in Turkey.