The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how we live our lives, according to the recently published report from the think tank of the European Parliament. The report, titled How Coronavirus Infected Sport, details the importance of physical activity and the fitness and physical activity sector's response to the coronavirus. 
The closure of fitness clubs,* pools, dance studios, parks and playgrounds due to COVID-19 restrictions massively limited people’s options to engage in physical activity at a time when its benefits for mental health were needed more than ever for combatting the effects of lockdown and social isolation. It also risked increasing the already worryingly low levels of physical activity. Before the pandemic, 46% of Europeans stated that they never exercised and an estimated 4/5 of European adolescents failed to reach the WHO physical activity guidelines.  
During the crisis, the promotion of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle has proved to be more indispensable than ever before, with the fitness and physical activity sector becoming increasingly innovative in its offerings to get people more physically active. Many fitness operators have enhanced their digital offerings, with live workouts available on social media and making use of everyday household objects instead of weights.  
The European Commission has adjusted its #BeActive campaign established in 2015 through the launch of #BeActiveAtHome, which uses social media to reach out to Europeans and encourage an exchange of ideas on staying active at home.  
EuropeActive, in recognising the importance of physical activity and its mission of getting more people, more active, more often, launched its first #BEACTIVE Hour in May last year, which encouraged thousands of people across Europe to participate in an hour of simultaneous physical activity.  
*To Keep up-to-date on the status of fitness clubs throughout Europe, EuropeActive regularly updates its COVID-19 interactive map. Please note the information displayed may change subject to further COVID-19 updates. 
Jan 28, 2021 By Pauline Joskin