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American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine ; : 15598276211029222, 2021.
Article in English | Sage | ID: covidwho-1325296

ABSTRACT

Physical activity is one of the most efficacious pathways to promoting mental and physical health, preventing disease, and, most important during the COVID-19 pandemic, bolstering a stronger immune system. Efforts to ?flatten the curve? have resulted in the temporary closure of exercise facilities and gyms, suspension of sport activities, and advisories to avoid public recreational spaces. All of these changes have made traditional opportunities to be physically active difficult to access. These changes have also exacerbated existing disparities in access to social and environmental supports for physical activity, potentially contributing to a widening gap in physical activity participation among those at greatest risk for COVID-19. Physical activity can play a special role in reducing the inequitable consequences of COVID-19;however, expansion and better targeting of evidence-informed interventions are needed that address the unique barriers present in communities that have been economically and socially marginalized to achieve health equity in COVID-19 outcomes. This review highlights effective and feasible strategies that provide more equitable access to physical activity programs and spaces across the United States. With a renewed investment in physical activity, this behavior can play a crucial role in improving population health and reducing disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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