A recent study suggests that people who continued to spend a greater amount of time sitting between April and June 2020 were more likely to have higher symptoms of depression .
Further investigation of this association could help people improve their mental health.
Behavior aggravated by the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has favored teleworking, has also increased the hours we spend in chairs, because we do not even travel to the workplace . Jacob Meyer, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and the lead author of the study, conducted the study by surveying more than 3,000 participants from all 50 states.
Participants self-reported how much time they spent doing activities, such as sitting, watching screens, and exercising, and how those behaviors compared to pre-pandemic times. Using standard clinical scales, they also indicated changes in their mental well-being (eg, depression, anxiety, feelings of stress, loneliness).
Survey data showed that participants who met the United States Physical Activity Guidelines (that is, 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week) prior to the pandemic decreased their physical activity by a 32%, on average, shortly after the restrictions related to COVID-19 went into effect. The same participants reported feeling more depressed, anxious and lonely .