How to stay healthy during a COVID-19 lockdown, according to 64 cities in China
Want to thrive through the lockdown? Look no farther than China, where two months ago, Australian researchers conveniently evaluated 369 adults in 64 cities four weeks into their confinements. Their study, published in Psychiatry Research, offers a crystal ball for the rest of us.
They found three keys to a healthy, happy lockdown:
Keep working. People who stopped working altogether (25%) were most at risk of low mental and physical health. “Work can provide people with sense of purpose and routine, which is particularly important during this global pandemic,” says coauthor Andreas Rauch. Thirty-eight percent worked from home, and a quarter still attended an external workplace.
Exercise. But not too much. Participants who reported more than 2.5 hours of daily movement also reported lower life satisfaction. Those who exercised around 30 minutes or less per day were the happiest. This suggests that physically active people may be very frustrated by the restrictions.
Live in a lucky place. People living in severe outbreak regions had lower life satisfaction, particularly if they also had preexisting health conditions.
Not surprisingly, the study indicates that even the health and well-being of people who do not contract COVID-19 are deeply impacted by the outbreak’s effects, and that those whose former work and activity lives are most limited will likely struggle more.