According to the WHO, physical activity contributes to the prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases. Lack of fitness is considered an important cause of future lifestyle-related diseases, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. People with low levels of physical activity have higher body mass index, higher waist circumference and fat mass than those with high levels of physical activity. In recent decades, especially during the COVID‑19 pandemic, physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles have become a major global public health problem, even among younger populations. All this suggests the special importance of the physical activity of students in difficult life situations, including the conditions of the COVID‑19 pandemic.
Purpose: to review foreign scientific literature containing information about the characteristics of physical activity of students during the COVID‑19 pandemic and their impact on health indicators, about risk factors and ways to level them.
Materials and methods: bibliographic, information-analytical and methods of comparative analysis.
Results: during the COVID‑19 lockdown, students, regardless of baseline fitness scores, reduced time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity, increasing sedentary lifestyle and screen time. At the same time, first-year students turned out to be the most vulnerable to lifestyle changes due to isolation due to the difficulties of adapting to the conditions of study at the university and to the new realities during the COVID‑19 pandemic. During the lockdown, there has been an increase in the positive relationship observed before the pandemic between students’ physical activity indicators and gender, weight, psychological state and year of study. There is a greater adaptability of women to the conditions of isolation, women more often retained physical activity due to concern for health and shape. Women were more sociable, more often used social networks when doing physical exercises.
Findings: when developing strategies to stimulate physical activity and create a favorable environment for its implementation during isolation, one should take into account gender differences, socio-cultural factors, the role of the family and close circle, the role of educational organizations. Promoting physical activity among students during the COVID‑19 pandemic requires the joint efforts of the family, the public, the state, health organizations and educational institutions.