How Did Lockdown Affect Disabled Peoples’ Activity?

Effect of Pandemic on Disabled People Activity

The pandemic made it harder for everyone to stay active.

A Sport England study found that, throughout lockdown, activity levels for both adults and children dropped dramatically.

But research reveals that lockdown particularly affected disabled peoples’ ability to stay active.

A survey by Activity Alliance suggests that twice as many disabled people felt that Covid-19 greatly reduced their ability to do sport or physical activity compared to non-disabled people.

Significant Barriers

Some key findings from the Activity Alliance study:

  • 44% of disabled people felt that they do not have the opportunity to be as active as they want to. This is compared to 29% of non-disabled people.
  • 23% stated that they had not received enough information about how to be active during lockdown.
  • Respondents said the lack of activity has made it harder to manage both their physical and mental health. Many spoke of feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
  • The biggest barriers to staying active for disabled people include a fear of contracting the virus, the impact on their health, and a lack of space and support to be able to exercise safely at home.

“It’s Never Acceptable”

Barry Horne, Activity Alliance’s Chief Executive, said:

The benefits of being active are clear. It matters for everyone’s physical and mental health and has enormous impact on our daily lives. So, it is never acceptable that disabled people should not reap these benefits too.

We appreciate we have a national crisis on our hands and leaders need to make tough decisions in sport and leisure. But we have not heard near enough about the impact on disabled people’s lives during the pandemic. No disabled person should ever feel forgotten or overlooked in the communities we all serve.

Uniting The Movement

Activity Alliance’s latest survey follows Sport England’s launch of their 10-year Uniting the Movement strategy. Their aim is to tackle inequalities in sport and activity to help as many people as possible experience the many benefits of physical exercise.

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s Chief Executive, said:

This past year has highlighted the challenges we face in making sure sport and physical activity is a normal part of life – for everyone.

We take our responsibility in tackling these inequalities and supporting organisations like Activity Alliance extremely seriously. So working to remove barriers and make activity more accessible for disabled people underpins our new strategy.

Head here to read the results of the latest Activity Alliance Survey in full.