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People who increased their workout time during lockdown reported more stress than those who maintained their regular activity.
According to a new study, exercising though has many benefits in relieving stress and anxiety, it may not be able to tackle due to the COVID-19.
In a study led by the Washington State University researchers, people who have reported that they increased their physical activity during the COVID times have reported higher stress levels and anxiety than those whose activity levels remained the same.
The study was published recently in the journal named PLUS ONE. The researchers have analyzed the data of over 900 pairs of identical and same-sex fraternal twins from the Washington State Twin registry.
Those who decreased their physical activity after the start of lockdown have definitely reported an increase in stress levels but surprisingly, those who have increased their physical too reported the same.
The researchers claim that it is difficult to know what caused these outcomes in the case of COVID-19 stress, but it could be that those people are using exercise as a means to counter the stress levels that are caused due to COVID-19 despair.
The twin survey was conducted from March 26 to April 5, 2020 which are also the early days of the pandemic. Washington and many other states of the US have issued their lockdown orders at the end of March this year.
In the research, the participants were asked about changes in their physical activity when compared to the previous month.
About 42 percent of them have reported a decrease in the physical activity and 27 percent have reported an increase even since the start of the COVID crisis.
Meanwhile, 31 percent have reported no change in their activity levels.
The study also looked at whether the changes in the physical activity and mental health were mediated by genetic factors, environmental factors or both.
Identical twins share all of their genes, fraternal twins share approximately half of their genes and the twins who were raised in the same family share many formative experiences.
In the study, the researchers concluded that the change in physical activity and stress was confounded by genetic and environmental factors too.
The twin pairs who differed in their physical activities, however, did not differ in their perceived stress levels.
The researchers found out that within a pair of twins, the one with decreased physical activity reported higher levels of anxiety than the one who reported no change.
At present, at least for a short term, it seems that there is not a lot of impact from increased or decreased physical activity of handling stress and anxiety. It could differ after the COVID is erased from the globe.
Moreover, it is not that exercising cannot help in dealing with stress. It is just that there are other factors like environmental and genetic ones playing their role too.
By Gayatri Yellayi