Lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic has caused Gyms, Sports Venues, and the ability to partake in physical activities limited due to the restrictions put in place by the Government.
Mental Health has been one of the major talking points during the pandemic with an increasing amount of people suffering from mental health issues in the UK.
Exercise and Physical Activity helps to reduce stress, reduce anxiety, allows increased self-esteem and self-confidence, and a reduced risk of depression: with evidence suggesting that those who exercise three times a week can help to reduce the risk of depression by 20%.
As we are in the winter months the number of opportunities to exercise will be limited particularly with current restrictions.
Physical exercise has a positive effect on mental health but it also allows people to take a break from home life and with opportunities to exercise limited people may feel as though they have nowhere to escape the stresses of everyday life.
Restrictions on seeing people, being able to go outside and worries about the health of family and friends are the key factors driving poor mental health.
Boredom is also a major problem for young people with the Gym being an opportunity to let off steam and have social interaction.
More than half of adults (60%) and over two-thirds of young adults (68%) have said that their mental health has gotten worse during lockdown.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both to keep physically and mentally healthy.
A lack of structure and routine can also increase feelings of distress and make you pay more attention to the source of your problems.
In the UK, a group of public health specialists recently warned in the British Medical Journal that “the mental health impact of the pandemic is likely to last much longer than the physical health impact as well as proceeding to stick around once the pandemic is over”.
Tuxtra asked students what effect a lack of physical activity had on their mental health during Lockdown.
Saf Fifa, 18, Chef and university student said: “The pandemic has definitely affected my mental health, I’m not in as good shape as I was when I played football regularly and it was also a way for me to relieve stress and have fun and socialize with my friends.”
Christian Quigley, 18, said: “I used to go to the gym every week. Without it, I feel lazy, sluggish, and tired. Overall I’m just not as happy as I was when I was able to go to the gym.”
Kirstie Oakes, 18, university student, said: “I normally go to the gym every day after doing my uni work and alternate between dog walking each day, however, gym closures have led to me just dog walking and I feel like I’ve lost all my strength and muscles. I struggle to look at myself in the mirror knowing I haven’t been to the gym. It really ruins my self-confidence.”
Johnathan Wilson, 18, Business Student, said: “I’ve stopped exercising all together during lockdown and it really isn’t good for me.”
“My Mental and physical health is much worse than it was 12 months ago and I find it hard to have any motivation to work out or get up and do something on my own. I miss the social element of playing a sport or going to the gym.”
If you are suffering from any mental health issues know you are not alone. Here are some people you can contact if you need to talk to someone.
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably. A charity providing a mental health helpline and webchat.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Rethink Mental Illness
Support and advice for people living with mental illness.
Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 4 pm)
To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Phone: 116 123 (free from any phone),
Essential Support for Under 25s
Phone: 0808 808 4994 (Sunday-Friday 2 pm–11 pm),
request support by email using this form on The Mix website or use their crisis text messenger service.