Article Title



Jesse John Kiboi, Louisa A. Summers. Berea College, Berea, KY.

BACKGROUND: The Covid 19 pandemic caused worldwide change in patterns of behavior. Physical inactivity is a significant health issue in the State of Kentucky and Appalachia. The study aimed to examine health and physical activity changes amongst day hikers during 2020 and 2021. The primary outcomes measures were: 1) subjective health rating, 2) number of days per week of moderate physical activity, and 3) total minutes on the trail. A secondary outcome was purpose for trail use. METHODS: A modified QR code version of the valid and reliable American Tobacco Trail (Cook et al., 2016) survey collected data. In addition, researchers greeted hikers during June and July in 2020 and 2021. RESULTS: Residents comprised 23% of the sample in 2020 and 15% in 2021. In the summer of 2020, for the sample of 215 hikers, the median age was 34.0 years (range of 15-74). In 2021, for the sample of 200, had a median age of 36 years (range 15-76). During the height of pandemic, 23% of hikers rated health as “excellent,” 43% very good, and 29% good. In 2021, 28% “excellent,” 40% very good, and 30% good. There were no significant differences in total physical activity time on the trail in 2020 (M = 114.7 mins, SD 62.7) versus 2021 (M = 116.1 mins, SD 65.6). In addition, when asked the number of days per week doing 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, the percentage of hiker meeting or exceeding the national guidelines were 40% in 2020 and 41% in 2021. Thus, almost 60% of hikers reported not meeting the national guidelines of 30 minutes five days per week. The most striking results were the shift in purpose for hiking the trail. In 2020, recreation was listed most frequently during the lockdown, second was exercise, then family time. In 2021, family time jumped to number one reason hikers came to the Pinnacles, with exercise second and recreation third. DISCUSSION. The results indicate that physical activity usage patterns did not change in the two years during the pandemic physical ac amongst this sample of day hikers. Given the emphasis on physical activity to improve and maintain health, it is evident that this sample maintained subjective levels of health during this period. The importance of family time became evident during year 2 of the pandemic.

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