Decrease in physical activity during pandemic is leading to increase in mental health issues
LONDON, ONT. -- Whether it’s a safe walk, or an at-home workout, health experts are saying physical activity is more important than ever right now.
“It can really help release the physical tensions that we are feeling that we are carrying in our shoulders our backs and necks,” says Dr. Leigh Vanderloo, exercise scientist from ParticipACTION.
ParticipACTION is a national organization geared towards healthy lifestyle.
Vanderloo says more than ever, Canadians can really benefit mentally from a little movement.
“The more we move we are going to see an increase in endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, which are not only considered as feel good hormones. They will also going to help ensure we are staying in balance and allow us to regulate our emotions.”
Prior to COVID-19, the ParticpACTION team released data that only about 20 per cent of Canadians were meeting national physical activity guidelines.
“So If we take that trend and further compound it with the current climate we find ourselves in with Covid-19, it’s actually worsening the stats we are seeing,” says Vanderloo.
ParticipACTION is one of many groups that are offering virtual exercise classes and tips.
GoodLife Fitness has opened up its virtual workouts to the public, which are free and no membership is required.
“This will lead to things like resilience and courage,” says Kim Lavender, vice-president of group experience at GoodLife Fitness.
“It also helps with the ability to cope and physical fitness is the gateway to achieving that."
The virtual workouts are streamed daily and Lavender also has online mediation and mental wellness exercises.
“I don’t think we can underestimate the power of movement and the power of positive thinking, and most importantly during this time, that connection,” says Lavender. “We are forced to physically distance ourselves and this allows us to connect with something that is positive and in common.”