Physical Activity, Mental Health and Wellbeing during the First COVID-19 Containment in New Zealand: A Cross-Sectional Study

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MDPI (Basel, Switzerland)
Strategies implemented worldwide to contain COVID-19 outbreaks varied in severity across different countries, and established a new normal for work and school life (i.e., from home) for many people, reducing opportunities for physical activity. Positive relationships of physical activity with both mental and physical health are well recognised, and therefore the aim was to ascertain how New Zealand’s lockdown restrictions impacted physical activity, mental health and wellbeing. Participants (n = 4007; mean ± SD: age 46.5 ± 14.7 years, 72% female, 80.7% New Zealand European) completed (10–26 April 2020) an online amalgamated survey (Qualtrics): International Physical Activity Questionnaire: Short Form; Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-9; World Health Organisation-Five Well-Being Index; Stages of Change Scale. Positive dose–response relationships between physical activity levels and wellbeing scores were demonstrated for estimates that were unadjusted (moderate activity OR 3.79, CI 2.88–4.92; high activity OR 8.04, CI 6.07–10.7) and adjusted (confounding variables: age, gender, socioeconomic status, time sitting and co-morbidities) (moderate activity 1.57, CI 1.11–2.52; high activity 2.85, CI 1.97–4.14). The study results support previous research demonstrating beneficial effects of regular physical activity on mental health and wellbeing. Governments may use these results to promote meeting physical activity guidelines in order to protect mental health and wellbeing during the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and future pandemics.
Copyright: © 2021 by the authors.
anxiety, coronavirus, depression, exercise, lifestyle behaviour change, pandemic, physical distancing, wellness, Adult, COVID-19, Communicable Disease Control, Cross-Sectional Studies, Exercise, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Health, Middle Aged, New Zealand, SARS-CoV-2
O'Brien WJ, Badenhorst CE, Draper N, Basu A, Elliot CA, Hamlin MJ, Batten J, Lambrick D, Faulkner J. (2021). Physical Activity, Mental Health and Wellbeing during the First COVID-19 Containment in New Zealand: A Cross-Sectional Study.. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 18. 22. (pp. 12036-).