You are here
Home > News > Covid lockdown produces worrying sedentary lifestyle – study

Covid lockdown produces worrying sedentary lifestyle – study

Ōtautahi – A new study has found the global health crisis is making people sit down for far too long, impacting on much less physical activity and mental health.

Reducing the amount of time spent sitting down should be part of public health policy during covid pandemic, the report from the University of Huddersfield says.

The study assessed the impact of sitting time and physical activity on mental health during the pandemic’s lockdowns. They noticed the increase in time spent sitting down had an adverse effect on mental health and even outweighed the benefits of regular exercise.

Being allowed an hour of outdoor exercise on a daily basis was a key part of the UK government’s strategy in the first national lockdown in March 2020.

However, the study found that a great proportion of people were spending more than eight hours a day sitting, due to working at home or being at a loose end while at home on holiday. They were experiencing detrimental effects to their mental health.

Even people who were active, with around 150 minutes per week of moderate or vigorous physical activity, reported detrimental effects to their mental health. Further exercise was required to counterbalance this more sedentary lifestyle.

The findings into the research of sitting time and mental health during lockdown have been published in the journal Sport Sciences for Health.

Participants in the study looked forward to up to an hour’s exercise once a day for a bit of fresh air. But they were sitting for longer periods with over 50 percent sitting for more than eight hours a day.

We found that sitting time, together with some demographics and pre-existing health conditions, were the main variables to negatively influence mental health and wellbeing.

Other studies have shown that if people sit for longer than eight hours, in order to compensate the negative effect of sedentary behaviour on physical health outcomes, they need to exercise for longer.

Around 60 minutes is ideal, but this is longer than the 30 minutes that is generally recommended as a minimum for daily exercise.

Reducing sitting time has a positive effect on mental health. We recommend that together with increase in physical activity, public health should encourage reduction of sitting time for mental health benefits.

The research was carried out to on mental wellbeing to help them assess the impact of covid-19 on mental health in their area.

Just going for a walk specially in green areas  is really important. Any type of moderate activity such as leisure and gardening do have benefits, the researchers say.

The UK researchers want to develop an intervention based on the findings, to focus on the decrease of sedentary behaviour as well as increase in physical activity to promote benefits on mental health.

Similar articles