Even Exercise May Not Ease Pandemic-Linked Stress

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay reporter

TUESDAY September 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Exercise is often recommended for dealing with stress and anxiety. But that may not be the solution to your pandemic concerns, new research shows.

For the study, researchers analyzed data collected from more than 900 pairs of identical, same-sex fraternal twins in Washington state during the early stages of the pandemic.

While 42% said their level of physical activity had decreased, 27% said they had increased. Another 31% reported no change.

Those who said their level of physical activity decreased in the first two weeks after the stay-at-home orders were issued reported higher levels of stress and anxiety, a finding the researchers found. ‘were waiting.

But they were surprised that the same was true in many twins who increased their level of physical activity, according to the study.

“True, people who don’t exercise know there are associations with mental health outcomes, but those who increased their exercise also reported increased anxiety and stress,” said the co-author of the Glen Duncan study. He is a professor at Washington State University College of Medicine, in Spokane.

“It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on, but they may be trying to use exercise as a way to deal with the stress and anxiety they are feeling from COVID,” Duncan added in an academic press release.

The link between decreased physical activity and stress has been confused by genetic and environmental factors, the researchers noted.

In pairs of twins where one reported decreased activity and the other stayed the same, there was no difference in their stress levels, the results showed.

“It’s not necessarily that exercise won’t help you deal with stress personally,” Duncan said. “It’s just that there is something genetically and environmental that connects the two.”

The researchers plan to continue tracking the twins.

“At least in the short term, it doesn’t seem like there is much impact of decreasing or increasing physical activity in terms of stress and anxiety management, but it could be. different after two or three months under COVID restrictions, ”Duncan said.

The results were published online recently in the journal PLOS One.

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SOURCE: Washington State University, press release, September 8, 2020

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