Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 21;18(9):4409. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18094409.
Health authorities recommend digital tools for home-based sport and exercise routines to stay active and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study investigates the prevalence, duration, most popular activities, and social selectivity of home-based digital sport and its contribution to overall levels of sporting activity during the pandemic. It is based on cross-sectional survey data (n = 1508), representing the population >14 years living in Germany. Data collection took place in October 2020, using computer-assisted web interviewing. Results show that overall, 23% of respondents used digital media for sports activities at least one time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Numbers increased during the lockdown and decreased afterwards. People engaged in a variety of fitness workouts, most frequently practiced with the help of publicly accessible fitness videos from video-sharing platforms. Digital sports practitioners are younger, better educated, and financially better off. Females are overrepresented. Individuals engaged in digital sports achieved 30 min/week more sports activity during the pandemic compared to individuals solely involved in offline sports. Hence, home-based digital sports activities were a popular means to stay active, particularly in the period of the lockdown. Strong social disparities indicate that the possible health benefits of digital sports only reach out to particular population groups.