SPOVID – “Examining physical activity and sports behavior in the face of Covid-19 pandemic: a social inequality perspective”


The SPOVID study – “Examining physical activity and sports behavior in the face of Covid-19 pandemic: a social inequality perspective” aims to investigate the changes in physical activity among the German population in the face of the Corona pandemic. The study especially focuses on social inequality. The policies used to mitigate the spread of the virus (e.g. social distancing and self-quarantine) have an enormous impact on the activity behavior of the entire population. Representative data on physical activity captured in October 2019 (before the pandemic) and in March/April 2020 (during the lockdown) showed that physical activity has decreased significantly (Mutz & Gerke, 2020). However, in addition to a large population group that significantly reduced its sporting activities during the lockdown, there is also a smaller group in the German population that intensified its sporting activities during this period. Thus, contrary to the general trend, there are also people who are more involved in sports during the Corona pandemic than before. Since the policies to mitigate the corona virus have gradually eased in recent months, but at the same time the pandemic continues to dominate public life, the analysis of the effects of the pandemic on physical activity in the German population is important in the further course of the pandemic.

Therefore, the research project focuses on the following questions:

  1. How has physical activity (in different domains and settings) changed during the pandemic?
  2. Which social factors are associated with changes in physical activity?
  3. What relationship is there between changed patterns of physical activity and subjective well-being?

Research project

In cooperation with forsa, a leading company for public opinion surveys in Germany, a survey to obtain representative data on physical activity and mental health in the German population will be conducted. This survey follows the previous surveys conducted in October 2019 and April 2020. The continuation of the data collection will allow trend analyses regarding physical activity and mental health at different timepoints within the course of the pandemic. In addition, the survey allows for the consideration of a social inequality perspective when analyzing the survey data. This also includes differentiated analyses on the level of larger federal states (e.g. North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria) or groups of federal states (eastern German states), so that different spreads of the pandemic and different corona mitigation policies of the federal states can be taken into account.


Project management:

Prof. Dr. Anne Kerstin Reimers (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg)

Prof. Dr. Michael Mutz (Justus Liebig University Gießen)


Project collaborator:

Franziska Beck (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg)


  • Mutz, M., Müller, J., & Reimers, A.K. (2021). Use of Digital Media for Home-Based Sports Activities during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results from the German SPOVID Survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(9). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094409
  • Mutz, M., & Gerke, M. (2020). Sport and exercise in time of self quarantine: How Germans changed their behaviour in the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. https://doi.org/10.1177/1012690220934335