As social distancing drags on, people are experiencing more stress, increased symptoms of depression and anxiety, and an uptick in mental health disorders, suicide ideation, and substance abuse relapse. Reduced physical activity, sleep disruption, and increased smoking and alcohol intake during the pandemic have been associated with higher depression, anxiety and stress symptoms.
Moving our bodies regularly is one of the key elements in the ecosystem of factors that keep us mentally and emotionally balanced. The John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation, where I serve as Executive Director, is completing a review of over 4000 scientific studies on the impact of movement and exercise on mental health. The project is nearly complete, and it is clear that several types of movement can reduce stress and improve depression and anxiety. Relevant to our current situation, acute exercise has been also shown to increase immediate immunity to infection.
Read more here.