Article Data

  • Views 841
  • Dowloads 117

Original Research

Open Access

Participation in physical activity among people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Korea

  • Changok Cho1,†
  • Wonsang Shin1,†
  • Jungjun Lim2,*,
  • Joon-Sik Kim3,*,

1Planning and Administration Office, Korea Paralympic Committee (KPC), 05540 Seoul, Republic of Korea

2Department of Physical Education, College of Education, Seoul National University, 08826 Seoul, Republic of Korea

3Department of Adapted physical Education, Baekseok University, 31065 Chungcheongnam-do, Republic of Korea

DOI: 10.31083/j.jomh1804098 Vol.18,Issue 4,April 2022 pp.1-7

Submitted: 15 October 2021 Accepted: 13 April 2022

Published: 30 April 2022

*Corresponding Author(s): Jungjun Lim E-mail:
*Corresponding Author(s): Joon-Sik Kim E-mail:

† These authors contributed equally.


Background: Quarantine, social distancing, and restricted movement and social interaction due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported reduce physical activity across several countries. However, few studies have evaluated the changes in physical activity patterns before and after COVID-19 among people with disabilities. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate how physical activity participation has changed during COVID-19 among people with disabilities in South Korea. Methods: This study was conducted among 3871 persons with disabilities, aged 10–69 years, who participated in the 2020 Sports Survey for the Disabled conducted by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in March 2020. This survey collected data regarding participants’ demographic characteristics (age, gender, etc.) and disability along with the type of physical activity (intensity, frequency, time, etc.), method (facilities, home training, classes/lectures, club), and type (swimming, resistance training, walking and jogging, etc.) of participation in physical activity before and after COVID-19. A chi-squared frequency test was performed to confirm the difference in the ratio of participation frequency, time, intensity, and method and type of physical activity before and after COVID-19. Results: After the COVID-19 outbreak, the frequency, duration, and intensity of physical activity of people with disabilities were reduced compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, in terms of physical activity participation method, attendance of classes, lectures, and clubs decreased, while physical activity at home increased. In participation types of physical activity, participation in walking and jogging, gymnastics, mountain climbing, and cycling increased, whereas swimming, weight training, and other activities decreased. Conclusion: Public health guidelines and social distancing due to COVID-19 have reduced the frequency, duration, and intensity of physical activity, while changing the types and methods of participation in physical activity for people with disabilities. Therefore, public health support to promote adherence to physical activity should be needed.


COVID-19 pandemic; physical activity participation; disabled; disability

Cite and Share

Changok Cho,Wonsang Shin,Jungjun Lim,Joon-Sik Kim. Participation in physical activity among people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Korea. Journal of Men's Health. 2022. 18(4);1-7.


[1] Pan A, Liu L, Wang C, Guo H, Hao X, Wang Q, et al. Associa-tion of public health interventions with the epidemiology of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2020; 323: 1915–1923.

[2] World Health Organization. WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. 2021. Available at: (Ac-cessed: 20 December 2021).

[3] Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Social distanc-ing system overview. 2021. Available at: http://ncov.mohw.go .kr/ (Accessed: 20 December 2021).

[4] Chen P, Mao L, Nassis GP, Harmer P, Ainsworth BE, Li F. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): the need to maintain regu-lar physical activity while taking precautions. Journal of Sport and Health Science. 2020; 9: 103–104.

[5] Castañeda-Babarro A, Arbillaga-Etxarri A, Gutiérrez-Santamaría B, Coca A. Physical Activity Change during COVID-19 Confinement. International Journal of Environmen-tal Research and Public Health. 2020; 17: 6878.

[6] Stanton R, To QG, Khalesi S, Williams SL, Alley SJ, Thwaite TL, et al. Depression, Anxiety and Stress during COVID-19: Associations with Changes in Physical Activity, Sleep, Tobacco and Alcohol Use in Australian Adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17.

[7] Li F. Receptor recognition and cross-species infections of SARS coronavirus. Antiviral Research. 2013; 100: 246–254.

[8] Chen N, Zhou M, Dong X, Qu J, Gong F, Han Y, et al. Epidemi-ological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study. The Lancet. 2020; 395: 507–513.

[9] Dwyer MJ, Pasini M, De Dominicis S, Righi E. Physical activ-ity: Benefits and challenges during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 2020; 30: 1291–1294.

[10] Lear SA, Hu W, Rangarajan S, Gasevic D, Leong D, Iqbal R, et al. The effect of physical activity on mortality and car-diovascular disease in 130 000 people from 17 high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries: the PURE study. The Lancet. 2017; 390: 2643–2654.

[11] Ekelund U, Tarp J, Steene-Johannessen J, Hansen BH, Jefferis B, Fagerland MW, et al. Dose-response associations between ac-celerometry measured physical activity and sedentary time and all cause mortality: systematic review and harmonised meta-analysis. British Medical Journal. 2019; 366: l4570.

[12] McPhee JS, French DP, Jackson D, Nazroo J, Pendleton N, De-gens H. Physical activity in older age: perspectives for healthy ageing and frailty. Biogerontology. 2016; 17: 567–580.

[13] Reiner M, Niermann C, Jekauc D, Woll A. Long-term health benefits of physical activity – a systematic review of longitu-dinal studies. BMC Public Health. 2013; 13: 813.

[14] Walsh NP, Gleeson M, Shephard RJ, Gleeson M, Woods JA, Bishop N, et al. Position statement part one: immune function and exercise. Exercise Immunology Review. 2011; 17: 6-63.

[15] Martin SA, Pence BD, Woods JA. Exercise and Respiratory Tract Viral Infections. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. 2009; 37: 157–164.

[16] Woods JA, Hutchinson NT, Powers SK, Roberts WO, Gomez-Cabrera MC, Radak Z, et al. The COVID-19 pandemic and physical activity. Sports Medicine and Health Science. 2020; 2: 55–64.

[17] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition. 2018. Avail-able at: _Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf (Accessed: 20 Decem-ber 2021).

[18] Lesser IA, Nienhuis CP. The impact of COVID-19 on physi-cal activity behavior and well-being of Canadians. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17: 3899.

[19] Rimmer JH, Marques AC. Physical activity for people with dis-abilities. The Lancet. 2012; 380: 193–195.

[20] Rimmer JH. The Conspicuous Absence of People with Disabil-ities in Public Fitness and Recreation Facilities: Lack of Inter-est or Lack of Access? American Journal of Health Promotion. 2005; 19: 327–329.

[21] Murphy NA, Carbone PS. Promoting the Participation of Chil-dren with Disabilities in Sports, Recreation, and Physical Activ-ities. Pediatrics. 2008; 121: 1057–1061.

[22] Carroll DD, Courtney-Long EA, Stevens AC, Sloan ML, Lullo C, Visser SN, et al. Vital signs: disability and physical activity–United States, 2009–2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Re-port. 2014; 63: 407–413.

[23] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Physical ac-tivity among adults with a disability—United States, 2005. Mor-bidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2007; 56: 1021–1024.

[24] Rimmer JH, Schiller W, Chen M. Effects of Disability-Associated Low Energy Expenditure Deconditioning Syndrome. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. 2012; 40: 22–29.

[25] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy people 2010. Conference edition, vol 2. US Department of Health and Human Services: Washington DC. 2000.

[26] Rimmer JH, Chen M, McCubbin JA, Drum C, Peterson J. Exer-cise Intervention Research on Persons with Disabilities. Amer-ican Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 2010; 89: 249–263.

[27] The Korea Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism. The 2020 physical activity Survey for the Disabled. 2021. Avail-able at: =39417 (Accessed: 20 December 2021).

[28] Warburton DER. Health benefits of physical activity: the evi-dence. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2006; 174: 801–809.

[29] Lewis SF, Hennekens CH. Regular Physical Activity: Forgotten Benefits. The American Journal of Medicine. 2016; 129: 137–138.

[30] Trost SG, Blair SN, Khan KM. Physical inactivity remains the greatest public health problem of the 21st century: evidence, improved methods and solutions using the ‘7 investments that work’ as a framework. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2014; 48: 169–170.

[31] Blair SN. Physical inactivity: the biggest public health problem of the 21st century. British journal of sports medicine. 2009; 43: 1–2.

[32] Martin Ginis KAH, Audrey L. Considerations for the devel-opment of a physical activity guide for Canadians with physi-cal disabilities. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 2007; 32: S135–S147.

[33] Sit CHP, McManus A, McKenzie TL, Lian J. Physical activity levels of children in special schools. Preventive Medicine. 2007; 45: 424–431.

[34] Garcia JM, Lawrence S, Brazendale K, Leahy N, Fukuda D. Brief report: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health behaviors in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dis-ability and Health Journal. 2021; 14: 101021.

[35] Stockwell S, Trott M, Tully M, Shin J, Barnett Y, Butler L, et al. Changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviours from before to during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown: a system-atic review. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine. 2021; 7: e000960.

[36] Song, J.; Ahn, J.H.; Choi, I.; Mun, J.K.; Cho, J.W.; Youn, J. The changes of exercise pattern and clinical symptoms in pa- tients with Parkinson’s disease in the era of COVID-19 pandemic. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders. 2020; 80; 148-151.

[37] Theis, N.; Campbell, N.; De Leeuw, J.; Owen, M.; Schenke, K.C. The effects of COVID-19 restrictions on physical activity and mental health of children and young adults with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. Disability and Health Journal. 2021; 14; 101064

[38] Cacioppo, M.; Bouvier, S.; Bailly, R.; Houx, L.; Lempereur, M.; Mensah-Gourmel, J.; Kandalaft, C.; Varengue, R.; Chatelin, A.; Vagnoni, J, et al. Emerging health challenges for children with physical disabilities and their parents during the COVID- 19 pandemic: The ECHO French survey. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. 2021; 64; 101429.

[39] Phillips M, Flemming N, Tsintzas K. An exploratory study of physical activity and perceived barriers to exercise in ambulant people with neuromuscular disease compared with unaffected controls. Clinical Rehabilitation. 2009; 23: 746–755.

[40] Rimmer JH, Riley B, Wang E, Rauworth A, Jurkowski J. Physical activity participation among persons with disabilities. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2004; 26: 419–425.

Abstracted / indexed in

Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch) Created as SCI in 1964, Science Citation Index Expanded now indexes over 9,200 of the world’s most impactful journals across 178 scientific disciplines. More than 53 million records and 1.18 billion cited references date back from 1900 to present.

Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition aims to evaluate a journal’s value from multiple perspectives including the journal impact factor, descriptive data about a journal’s open access content as well as contributing authors, and provide readers a transparent and publisher-neutral data & statistics information about the journal.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) DOAJ is a unique and extensive index of diverse open access journals from around the world, driven by a growing community, committed to ensuring quality content is freely available online for everyone.

SCImago The SCImago Journal & Country Rank is a publicly available portal that includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database (Elsevier B.V.)

Publication Forum - JUFO (Federation of Finnish Learned Societies) Publication Forum is a classification of publication channels created by the Finnish scientific community to support the quality assessment of academic research.

Scopus: CiteScore 0.9 (2023) Scopus is Elsevier's abstract and citation database launched in 2004. Scopus covers nearly 36,377 titles (22,794 active titles and 13,583 Inactive titles) from approximately 11,678 publishers, of which 34,346 are peer-reviewed journals in top-level subject fields: life sciences, social sciences, physical sciences and health sciences.

Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers Search for publication channels (journals, series and publishers) in the Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers to see if they are considered as scientific. (

Submission Turnaround Time