“Sneaky Behavior”: Sitting More Is Linked to Increased Depression and Anxiety.

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“Sneaky Behavior”: Sitting More Is Linked to Increased Depression and Anxiety.

Many people became more sedentary after the initial outbreak in March 2020, as they followed stay-at-home orders or chose to self-isolate. According to new research, persons who continued to spend more time sitting in the weeks afterward were more likely to develop depression symptoms. A deeper examination into this link could aid in the improvement of people’s mental health.

During the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak, daily commutes became shuffles between the bedroom and the living room as people followed stay-at-home instructions or self-isolated. Time spent walking to conference rooms was wiped by clicking Zoom links, while time spent at the gym was squandered by watching Netflix.

In short, as the pandemic spread, a large number of people became more sedentary.

People who continued to spend more time sitting between April and June 2020 were more likely to develop depression symptoms, according to new research. A deeper examination into this link could aid in the improvement of people’s mental health.

“Sitting is a sly behavior,” said Jacob Meyer, main author of the study and assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University. “It’s something we do without thinking about all the time.” Meyer and his team at ISU’s Wellbeing and Exercise Laboratory study how physical activity and sedentary behaviors are linked to mental health, and how changes in these behaviors affect how people think, feel, and experience the world.

“We knew COVID would effect our behavior and what we could do in lots of crazy, funky ways that we couldn’t predict in March 2020,” Meyer said.

Meyer and a team of researchers gathered survey responses from over 3,000 study participants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to gain a sense of those changes. Participants self-reported how much time they spent sitting, looking at devices, and exercising, as well as how those behaviors compared to pre-pandemic eras. They also identified changes in their mental health using established clinical scales (e.g., depression, anxiety, feeling stressed, lonely).

“We know that changes in people’s physical activity and screen time are linked to their mental health in general,” Meyer said, “but we haven’t really seen broad population data like this in response to a rapid change previously.”

Participants who met the US Physical Activity Guidelines (i.e., 2.5-5 hours of physical activity per week) were found in the survey. Summary of the latest news from Brinkwire.

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