Outdoor Exercise Decreased Anxiety and Depression during Lockdown

In a new study, led by the healthcare company Kaiser Permanente (KP), researchers found that people who exercised more during lockdowns experienced less anxiety and depression than those who did not exercise. Moreover, according to the study, people who spent more time outdoors had lower levels of anxiety and depression than those who stayed inside.Outdoor Exercise Decreased Anxiety and Depression during Lockdown

A team of researchers surveyed more than 20,000 people from Hawaii, Colorado, Georgia, the mid-Atlantic states, and Southern and Northern California in April 2020 and at least three more times until July 2020. The participants were asked to answer questions about their lifestyle, share their electronic health records, and give biospecimens.

Dr. David A. Merill, adult and geriatric psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Pacific Brain Health Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, says: “The data is very clear that the mind and the brain are healthier when we spend more time […] in nature, but [also] just outdoors in general. There are studies that show that less time outdoors leads to brain atrophy, over time and with age.”

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