Exercise can provide a much-needed mental health boost during the COVID-19 pandemic. But stress and anxiety may hold you back, new research suggests.
According to a survey by researchers at McMaster University in Canada, some people may need mental health support to exercise during the pandemic.
“Maintaining a regular exercise program is difficult at the best of times, and the conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic may be making it even more difficult,” said study co-author Jennifer Heisz, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology.
“Even though exercise comes with the promise of reducing anxiety, many respondents felt too anxious to exercise. Likewise, although exercise reduces depression, respondents who were more depressed were less motivated to get active, and lack of motivation is a symptom of depression,” she said in a university news release.
For the study, the researchers surveyed more than 1,600 people to find out how and why their mental health and physical activity have changed since the start of the pandemic. The respondents reported higher levels of psychological stress and moderate levels of anxiety and depression triggered by the pandemic.