Physical inactivity is a global pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has altered global patterns of physical activity in ways that were unimaginable before the outbreak. Enforced restrictions on mobility and the mass closure of indoor fitness centres has highlighted the limitations of many urban areas for physical activity and inequalities in physical activity opportunities across cities. However, unprecedented reductions in mobility and increases in localised physical activity provide unique insight on opportunities for urban health promotion. COVID-19 responses can therefore, encourage new perspectives in urban planning and inspire novel future strategies to design more sustainable, healthier and equitable cities.