Background: The number of individuals recovering from severe COVID-19 is increasing rapidly. However, little is known about physical behaviours that make up the 24-h cycle within these individuals. This study aimed to describe physical behaviours following hospital admission for COVID-19 at eight months post-discharge including associations with acute illness severity and ongoing symptoms. Methods: One thousand seventy-seven patients with COVID-19 discharged from hospital between March and November 2020 were recruited. Using a 14-day wear protocol, wrist-worn accelerometers were sent to participants after a five-month follow-up assessment. Acute illness severity was assessed by the WHO clinical progression scale, and the severity of ongoing symptoms was assessed using four previously reported data-driven clinical recovery clusters. Two existing control populations of office workers and individuals with type 2 diabetes were comparators. Results: Valid accelerometer data from 253 women and 462 men were included. Women engaged in a mean ± SD of 14.9 ± 14.7 min/day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), with 12.1 ± 1.7 h/day spent inactive and 7.2 ± 1.1 h/day asleep. The values for men were 21.0 ± 22.3 and 12.6 ± 1.7 h /day and 6.9 ± 1.1 h/day, respectively. Over 60% of women and men did not have any days containing a 30-min bout of MVPA. Variability in sleep timing was approximately 2 h in men and women. More severe acute illness was associated with lower total activity and MVPA in recovery. The very severe recovery cluster was associated with fewer days/week containing continuous bouts of MVPA, longer total sleep time, and higher variability in sleep timing. Patients post-hospitalisation with COVID-19 had lower levels of physical activity, greater sleep variability, and lower sleep efficiency than a similarly aged cohort of office workers or those with type 2 diabetes. Conclusions: Those recovering from a hospital admission for COVID-19 have low levels of physical activity and disrupted patterns of sleep several months after discharge. Our comparative cohorts indicate that the long-term impact of COVID-19 on physical behaviours is significant.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity