The study named REACT-COVID 2.0 tried to understand the eating habits and physical activity of the Portuguese in the period between May and June 2021.

More than half of respondents to the study have adequate levels of physical activity, an increase of 46 percent compared to 2020. However, physical inactivity has also increased, with 46.4 percent of respondents having seven or more hours a day in sedentary activities.

Change of habits

Walking, running, strength training and fitness are the activities most practised by the Portuguese who participated in the study. However, more than 35 percent of respondents revealed that they had changed their eating habits during the pandemic. However, of these 35 percent, almost half report having worsened their diet.

Rafael Caria is a Personal Trainer in Lisbon, who confirmed to The Portugal News that the periods of lockdown gave the Portuguese “the notion of the importance of practising physical exercise” and from that moment on, there has been a constant growth in the number of members in the gyms, “although all restrictions have not yet been lifted.”

The restrictions on the population, during periods of lockdown, led to people finding alternatives to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Rafael Caria also points out that sport was the alternative found by many “to improve mental health.”

Demand for gyms

The Personal Trainer also reveals that the demand for gym services has increased for health reasons, but the desire to change physical appearance “continues to be the main reason that motivates people to join a gym.”

Among those interested, according to Rafael Caria, young people between 18 and 30 stand out, although the older ones are starting to begin their fitness journey too.

According to the WHO, adults aged 18 to 64 should practice between two and a half to five hours of physical activity per week of moderate aerobic activity to have a healthy and active life. They also add that one should practice moderate-intensity muscle-strengthening activities two or more times a week.


Deeply in love with music and with a guilty pleasure in criminal cases, Bruno G. Santos decided to study Journalism and Communication, hoping to combine both passions into writing. The journalist is also a passionate traveller who likes to write about other cultures and discover the various hidden gems from Portugal and the world. Press card: 8463. 

Bruno G. Santos