The Influences of COVID-19 Lockdown Measures on Physical Activity, Sedentary and Screen Time Behaviour of University Rugby Players in the Western Cape, South Africa

Main Article Content

MEM. Young TL. Petersen DL. Reid Z. Magerman


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on many challenges to everyday life. The pandemic caused many lifestyles changes with social distancing becoming essential to prevent the spread of the virus and ensuring the safety of individuals. The main concerns were the influence on physical activity levels. Lockdown measurements restricted access to equipment and facilities that affected rugby players' training needs. Universities turned to online learning requiring student-athletes to spend more screen time, leading to sedentary behaviour affecting overall performance and well-being. This study aimed to explore the influences of COVID-19 lockdown measures on physical activity levels, screen time usage, and sedentary lifestyle among rugby players at a university in the Western Cape. Ethics was obtained from the University of the Western Cape Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee (HS21/5/20). An exploratory qualitative approach was followed. Online semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten rugby players (5 males, 5 females), purposefully selected from a historical disadvantaged institution in the Western Cape. Data collected were transcribed verbatim, and Atlas Ti V9 was used to conduct thematic analysis. Trustworthiness was ensured using member checks, building a coherent justification for themes, rich, thick description to give context to the study, and describing the behaviour and experiences of the participants to convey the findings in a way that was understandable. The main findings of this study are summarised in three themes (physical activity, sedentary behaviour and screen time use) and eight sub-themes that emerged from the data. The key findings showed that most participants struggled to remain physically active throughout the strict lockdown measures due to a lack of support from coaches and the closure of sports facilities. Participants were once that it caused a significant decrease in a player's level of physical activity leading to an increase in sedentary behaviour and screen time usage. The changing institutional landscape also caused players to spend more time online, contributing to the sedentary lifestyle. Support from coaches during pandemics or situations where social engagement is restricted is of the essence. This includes emotional support, exercise programs, and sourcing equipment for rugby players to remain physically active and fit.

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YOUNG, MEM. et al. The Influences of COVID-19 Lockdown Measures on Physical Activity, Sedentary and Screen Time Behaviour of University Rugby Players in the Western Cape, South Africa. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 6, june 2022. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 apr. 2024. doi:
Research Articles


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