Physical distancing [is not equal to] physical inactivity

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Health Policy | Infectious Disease | Public Health | Translational Medical Research | Virus Diseases


During this time of global health crisis, physical distancing, along with mask wearing, has emerged as the sine qua non social practice to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. But as physical distancing ensues and all eyes remain fixed on the novel coronavirus, another, albeit careworn, pandemic rages on. Physical inactivity, the world's fourth leading cause of death, may indeed be exacerbated by physical distancing measures, such as sheltering at home and closing or limiting access to recreation and exercise facilities. The purpose of this paper is to urge public health and medical professionals not to forget the importance of physical activity to whole-person health, recognize the importance of physical activity as a potential COVID-19 mitigation strategy and to serve as advocates for promoting active lifestyles. It is imperative that the national call for physical distancing not be interpreted as a call for physical inactivity.


Physical activity, COVID-19, Social distancing, Clinician, Sedentary behavior, Chronic disease

DOI of Published Version



Meyer SM, Landry MJ, Gustat J, Lemon SC, Webster CA. Physical distancing ≠ physical inactivity. Transl Behav Med. 2021 Jan 7:ibaa134. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibaa134. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33410492. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Translational behavioral medicine

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID