Survey IDs Those Most Affected by One-Month COVID-19 Lockdown

In China, those who stopped working and those who exercise more reported worse mental health

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MONDAY, April 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who stopped working during coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)-related lockdowns in China report worse mental and physical health, according to a study published online April 4 in Psychiatry Research.

Stephen X. Zhang, Ph.D., from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues assessed the health and well-being of adults not infected by the virus but who had been living and working under restrictive measures for one month. The survey was conducted Feb. 20 to 21, 2020, and included 369 adults in 64 cities in China.

The researchers report that 27 percent of the participants worked at the office, 38 percent worked from home, and 25 percent stopped working due to the outbreak. Distress and worse mental and physical health conditions were reported by those who stopped working. Life satisfaction was predicted by the severity of COVID-19 in an individual's home city, and this relationship was also dependent upon an individual's existing chronic health issues and their hours of exercise. Study participants who exercised for more than 2.5 hours per day reported worse life satisfaction in more affected locations compared with participants who exercised for half an hour or less during the lockdown.

"We were really surprised by the findings around exercising hours because it appears to be counterintuitive," Zhang said in a statement. "It's possible adults who exercised less could better justify or rationalize their inactive lifestyles in more severely affected cities. More research is needed but these early findings suggest we need to pay attention to more physically active individuals, who might be more frustrated by the restrictions."

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