Quins lock part of team researching public physical and overall well-being during pandemic

Thursday, 7th May 2020 @ 17:30

Harlequins Women’s second row Dr Zoe Saynor is part of a multiple-institute team researching the effect of the coronavirus lockdown on human physical activity and well-being

Like many others during the recent lockdown, Saynor, a PhD lecturer in Sports and Exercise Science and lead for the Physical Activity, Health and Rehabilitation Research Group at the University of Portsmouth, has found a stark rise in her usage of video calls of late, continuing her teaching and clinical research work remotely; notably research into how the current pandemic will affect vulnerable population and has recently implemented telemedicine. Alongside her virtual lectures and the rehabilitation of a knee ligament injury sustained earlier this season, Saynor is also part of a team researching the effect of the government-enforced lockdown in reaction to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
“It’s a simple survey.” Saynor explained. “We really want to explore the effect of coronavirus on people’s physical activity levels and overall well-being.
“We really want to capture people’s experience during this initial lockdown. Obviously this is going to go on a little bit further, but between March the 23rd and now, when the government imposed the most significant restrictions, in terms of movement, how are people faring in terms of being able to be physically active? How have they changed their behaviours? How has the current situation affected their overall well-being - so how people are feeling during this time?
“These are the questions we’re trying to answer, with the plan to monitor at different stages of the government strategy. This study, as a standalone study, allows us to capture people’s experiences, but our goal down the line is to develop interventions to improve well-being and try to inform the public in terms of the best kinds of exercise and activity we should be doing during this unique situation if we face anything like this in the future.”


Saynor’s study, led by the Dr James Faulkner from the University of Winchester, has seen resources pooled from multiple institutions, including her own Portsmouth university base, Swansea, Oxford Brookes, Gloucester, Exeter and several other universities.
“The survey is easy to do, it’s quick to do, and has gone internationally now.” Saynor continued. “We’ve gotten into Ireland, Australia, New Zealand.”
“If we face anything like this again in the future, we will be able to have a understanding of the impact restrictions in this format impact the public’s wellbeing and physical activity.”
Like her teammates, Saynor is also patiently awaiting rugby’s return, rehabilitating her knee injury while staying in touch with the squad.
“It’s been a change of pace for sure! I’m progressing nicely with my rehabilitation; I’ve just started cycling, which has been great to get outside and do something more challenging with my rehab.
“I’m missing playing, training and just spending time with the squad, like everyone I think. But I’ve stayed in contact with the girls. I never thought I’d become so accustomed to video chats! 
“Much like rugby, it’s a national team effort at the moment; everyone’s in the same boat now.”
Adults 18+ living in the UK can take part in and find further information on Saynor’s study here.