K. Christanson, E. Brunner, E. Agbontaen, W. M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

In late 2019, the severe respiratory acute syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-COV-2) was indicated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as the causative agent for the outbreak of the current pandemic. The virus’s quick spread prompted a worldwide quarantine period to control the rise of cases. During this time gyms and recreational facilities shut down and individuals’ physical activity levels and social media engagement may have fluctuated in response. PURPOSE: This study aimed to compare physical activity patterns and social media usage among traditional undergraduate student’s pre-quarantine, during quarantine, and at present. METHODS: Full-time undergraduate students (18-23 years old) were identified as the target population. An online survey was distributed to potential participants within the target population via random and convenience sampling. The survey consisted of basic demographic questions and specific questions that reflected on physical activity and social media engagement throughout different periods of the COVID-19 pandemic (PRE: pre-quarantine, DUR: during quarantine, PRES: at present). Ultimately, 90 participants completed the entire survey. The mode and range were utilized to measure central tendency and variance for each dependent variable A Kruskall-Wallis (significance level p ≤ 0.05) test was used to analyze differences between time periods for physical activity levels and social media engagement. RESULTS: The amount (>151 min/week) and frequency (1-4 times/week) of physical activity remained similar across PRE, DUR, and PRES time periods (p = 0.615-0.759). However, there was a significant increase in the frequency (1-2 times/week) and amount (1-30 min/week) of physical activity derived from social media (p < 0.001) during quarantine. In addition, the most utilized online platforms for physical activity were Instagram and YouTube. CONCLUSION: Within the sampled population, physical activity amount and frequency remained constant, though social media-based physical activity increased. Further research is needed to examine the role of age and motivation with physical activity patterns in quarantine-type situations. Greater sample sizes to improve statistical power and representativeness of the findings is also warranted.

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