Physical activity was always a depression ‘repellent’, according to cognitive behaviourists. Did this aknowledged fact change in the Covid-19 pandemic context?Unfortunately not.
A few college students conducted a study to compare the number of steps people used to walk before the pandemic and during it and how they feel about life. The walking declined dramatically, and it had a sudden effect on the population’s mental health.
The rate of depression almost doubled, from 32 to 61 per cent, while the number of steps declined from 10,000 to 4,600 steps per day.
You Can Get ‘Spared’
The extended study appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and outlined that people won’t record any mental health improvement shortly after going back to regular physical activity. So, if you start jogging tomorrow morning, you won’t get rid of depression tendencies, but there are big chances to feel renewed if you go running more frequently.
According to co-author Sally Sadoff from the University of California – San Diego:
“This raises many possible explanations, including that the impact of physical activity may require a longer-term intervention.”
Sadoff also stated for the report:
“At the same time, our results clearly show that those who maintained physical exercise throughout the pandemic were the most resilient and least likely to suffer from depression.”
To reach a set of conclusive results, they surveyed almost 700 young adults before and during the pandemic and also used a longitudinal dataset linking biometric. The surveyed also wore permanent devices to track their physical activity during the day.
The statistics brought concerning facts to the surface: reduced socialization to less than 30 minutes per day and doubled screen time to more than 4 hours every day.
The scientist concluded that substantial drops in physical activity during the lockdown, such as one or two hours, most likely lead to depression tendencies. The most advantaged category were those that somehow preserved their lifestyle by following the same exercise practices.