The epidemic situation, changes in everyday functioning, a sense of health threat and uncertainty make us struggle with an increased level of stress for many months now. What impact can this situation have on mental health and how can we deal with it? Experts suggest that one of the most natural methods of reducing negative stress is physical activity, which we should not forget during the pandemic. According to the MultiSport Index Pandemic survey, 74% of Poles who limited physical activity during the spring lockdown experienced deterioration in their wellbeing.
– The right dose of short-term stress is necessary for us to develop, take up challenges, acquire new skills and react appropriately in emergency situations. As a response to a threat, stress has not changed in thousands of years, when we escaped from the saber-toothed tigers. The triggering of all the biochemical reactions of the body (increase in heart rate, blood pressure, release of stress hormones, stopping the digestive processes) enabled us to survive. We stayed in such a situation for a relatively short period of time. However, in the modern world, stress accompanies us almost every day. In the current situation related to the coronavirus pandemic, long-term stress and its intensity become an even more serious problem – says Kamila Karpińska, expert from Akademia Zdrofit.
Pandemic as the most common cause of stress
The most common cause of stress today is the pandemic (48%)Press Release. According to a survey conducted by Koalicja Bezpieczni w Pracy, since the outbreak of the pandemic, three out of four Poles have started to experience many diseases, including those related to the psyche – 33% of them began to feel anxiety and fear, 31% have mood disorders, 26% experience sleep disorders, 26% have headaches and 13% go through depressive states.
– Hormones such as adrenaline or cortisol, released during a stress response, are used by the body to take action and move – to run away or fight. When we undertake physical activity, these hormones are used up by our body. People who experience stress while leading a sedentary lifestyle are in a worse situation. This group may experience sleep disorders, disrupted endocrine system and increased risk of autoimmune diseases – explains Kamila Karpińska. –There is no other way to release tension and get rid of the metabolites of the stress response from the body than exercise, because that's how evolution constructed us. We no longer have to run away from the tiger but we have to find a way to react and find a form of movement that will be pure relaxation for us, during which we will not impose any goals on ourselves. It can even be spontaneous dancing or playing with children. Ideally, it should be 20 minutes of intense daily exercise to flush out stress hormones. Afterwards we should find a moment to practise yoga or other gentle form of working with the body, which, by combining breathing practices and mindfulness, helps to alleviate the symptoms of panic, anxiety or depression – adds the psychologist.
Activity as a rescue for the psyche
According to the MultiSport Index Pandemic survey conducted in April this year, most people who decreased their activity during the first lockdown experienced a negative impact of this change, primarily on their wellbeing (74%) and health (65%). One of the main reasons for limiting physical activity was the closure of sports facilities. The awareness of the impact of physical activity on psychophysical resistance is built by the nationwide educational campaign called “Pump up your immunity” implemented by six fitness chains (Zdrofit, Fabryka Formy, Fitness Academy, S4, Step One and My Fitness Place).
– Regular physical activity strengthens our good habits, improves our fitness level and immunity, and is our ally in the fight against diseases of affluence. We are an aging, sedentary society which negatively affects the quality of our life and life expectancy. We do not have to be athletes to strengthen our health, because even a small but regular amount of exercise helps to improve our wellbeing and our fitness level. I encourage you to get up from the couch and take care of yourself – explains Tomasz Groń, Managing Director at Benefit Systems, Fitness Branch, who is responsible for such fitness chains as Zdrofit, Fitness Academy, Fabryka Formy and My Fitness Place.
Expert opinions are confirmed by surveys
The significant impact of physical activity on everyday functioning was confirmed by a survey conducted in the summer among MultiSport card holders after the reopening of sports facilities. As many as 92% of people who returned to physical activity after a period of social isolation experienced an improvement in wellbeing, and 88% an improvement in health. On the other hand, the large American study called “The National Study from Daily Experiences” monitored the physical activity and mood of over two thousand adults. Each evening, its participants were asked about the most stressful event that happened to them during the day. On those days when they were active, stressful events, such as an unpleasant situation at work or caring for a loved one, were less burdensome for mental wellbeing. Interestingly, for 29% of MultiSport card holders building a strong will is one of the reasons to engage in regular exercise. .
Raport „Polacy a stres” przeprowadzony we wrześniu br. przez ARC Rynek I Opinia na zlecenie Sanprobi
 Raport „Polacy a stres” przeprowadzony we wrześniu br. przez ARC Rynek I Opinia na zlecenie Sanprobi
Senior PR Specialist at Benefit Systems