Effects of COVID-19 lockdown on physical, mental and emotional parameters among sportspersons

Amaarah Khan, Ammaarah Patel, Habib Noorbhai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown was a strange and new occurrence, which left many individuals ill-equipped to cope with the new way of living. Sportspersons had to adapt to a new training style within a new environment, both physically and mentally. Aim: The purpose of this study was to understand the physical, mental and emotional parameters among sportspersons during the COVID-19 lockdown regulations. Setting: The study consisted of 105 regular sportspersons (from South Africa). Methods: This was a quantitative research study design using an online questionnaire. An online questionnaire was adapted and distributed via online social platforms (WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram) to collect data in which sportspersons (n = 105) answered questions about the effects that they experienced during lockdown on their physical, mental and emotional well-being. Results: Sportspersons participated in cardiovascular training, flexibility training, strength training and bodybuilding exercises during pre-lockdown. During lockdown, more than 74% of sportspersons had adequate training space, equipment and the time to perform physical activity. However, more than 43% of these sportspersons experienced a decrease in flexibility, muscle mass and muscle strength. Exercise was used as a form of stress relief by 77.1% of sportspersons throughout lockdown. In addition, sportspersons who used exercise as a form of stress relief continued to experience an increase in stress throughout lockdown. Conclusion: The outcomes from this study demonstrated how the COVID-19 lockdown had adverse effects on the overall health and well-being of most sportspersons. Other outcomes included the effects that physical inactivity had among sportspersons, including changes in diet and sleep. Contribution: This study highlights the urgency for the sports fraternity to adopt measures to provide various methods of stress relief (as well as opportunities for physical activity) during similar periods of lockdown (or exercise restrictions) for those who rely on exercise as their daily physical, mental and emotional outlet.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera2119
JournalHealth SA Gesondheid
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • COVID-19
  • athletes
  • fitness
  • physical activity restriction
  • stress
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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