Japan Data

More Caution, Less Exercise During Japan’s Third Wave of COVID-19

Sports Health Lifestyle Society

Despite efforts to implement cluster-containment measures, many people in Japan are avoiding sports facilities, while others feel it is difficult to exercise while wearing a mask.

A survey conducted in Japan by the Sasakawa Sports Foundation has revealed that the spread of COVID-19 has had an effect on people’s exercise habits. As well as refraining from going out, people have become mindful of the three Cs: confined and enclosed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.

The survey, which targeted 5,000 people aged 18 to 79 nationwide, assessed the rates that people took part in different sports activities for both the one-year period from February 2019 and the one-year period from February 2020 after the pandemic began. A comparison of the top 10 types of activity showed that apart from walking, where the rate stayed almost the same, there was a drop in all other activities. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who did not exercise increased by 3.9 points from 45.7% to 49.6%.

February 2019–January 2020
Type of Exercise (%)
February 2020–January 2021
Type of Exercise (%)
Walking (27.6%) Walking (27.4%)
Strolling (19.5%) Strolling (15.8%)
Muscle training (12.6%) Muscle training (11.1%)
Jogging/running (7.3%) Jogging/running (6.5%)
Gymnastics/radio calisthenics (6.1%) Gymnastics/radio calisthenics (4.9%)
Golf (on a course) (5.5%) Golf (on a course) (4.7%)
Cycling (5.3%) Golf (driving range) (4.2%)
Golf (driving range) (4.5%) Cycling (3.7%)
Swimming (4.2%) Yoga (3%)
Yoga (3.9%) Swimming (2.7%)
No exercise (45.7%) No exercise (49.6%)

Created by Nippon.com based on data from Sasakawa Sports Foundation. The survey covering the 1-year period from February 2019 was conducted in June 2020 and the survey for the 1-year period from February 2020 was conducted in February 2021. The 5,000 surveys were allocated so as to approximate the actual population composition and gender ratio by region.

When asked what they were cautious about when exercising, the largest response with 64.5% was avoiding places where they were likely to encounter the three Cs, followed by 49.8% who took care to wear a mask and follow cough etiquette, and 45.4% who made sure they were aware of their distance from other people. The percentage of those avoiding the three Cs rose by 16.5 points since the question was previously asked in October 2020, indicating that people have become even more cautious since last autumn in the midst of the pandemic’s third wave.

For most activities, women showed that they were more conscious about taking care to control infection, including 56.0% saying they wear a mask and follow cough etiquette, compared to only 44.7% of men.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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