Exercise is not just good for physical health but also for mental health. Doctors suggest exercise can in fact help to strengthen your immune system.
During the COVID-19 pandemic mental health has deteriorated, In fact 69% of adults in the UK have are reported to be very worried about the impacts COVID-19 has had on their futures.
56% of these adults reported feeling stressed or anxious and 49% reported feeling bored.
Reports published by Public Health England have found that mental distress was up by 8.1% compared to 2017-2019.
The reports also found that sleep problems rose from 16% to 25% in April 2020.
All these issues have been caused by increased amounts of stress.
It starts with food and complements exercise, stress management and quality sleep.
Unfortunately, when most people aren’t getting a good quality of a combination of those 4 things, problems may arise. Especially with inflammation and the immune system.https://t.co/OlJ4UK2rnT
— Dr Joel Yong (@joelyong) November 3, 2020
Neuroscientist Stephanie Cacioppo says, “We’re a social species, we really need others to survive”.
Social isolation was studied by The Scientist magazine during the first lockdown back in March. They recruited 70,000 participants and conducted surveys, telephone calls and interviews over Zoom about mental wellbeing and formulating stress strategies.
The study revealed social isolation can lead to loneliness, premature mortality, obesity, cardiovascular problems, depression, increased risk of suicides and cognitive decline.
The impact the pandemic has had on mental health Is devastating.
During this time a lot of people have turned to exercise to provide some relief.
Exercise has been seen as a coping method for a majority of Londoners.
Keeping active does in fact regulate stress levels as hormones like serotonin and norepinephrine are released into the blood stream.
Endorphins are also released which can help to boost self-esteem and reduce stress/anxiety and depression.
Many experts believe fitness helps to keep Cortisol levels down. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can cause high blood pressure, increased abdominal fat, supressed thyroid function and lowered immunity.
It can lower immune response to such a low level that the immune system attacks itself causing a rapid decline in health.
Exercise once a day can help to regulate cortisol levels as well as flushing bacteria out of the lungs. This process allows for white blood cells to circulate more rapidly.
The closure of gyms has led to some families building their own.
A spare room or basement can be turned into a gym.
Sports equipment can be bought online- exercise bikes can be bought for £200 whereas Treadmills can be bought for £250.
Most gyms now run online classes instead, David Lloyd Clubs run a lot of classes on its app. Transport For London has invested £250m in cycling infrastructure.
Tube journeys are down by 90% meaning more people are using alternative methods to get into work.
Running is another form of exercise that many have taken up during the pandemic. The Royal Parks stayed open during the first lockdown and will continue to do so for the second.
There are many places to run in London and now may be a good time to explore the different parks.
It is so important during these unprecedented time’s you stay fit and healthy and ensure you have a support network around you.
Words by: Ryan Venables | Subbing: Grace Staley