Mental health and physical activity: A COVID-19 viewpoint
Onagbiye, Sunday O.
Mchiza, Zandile June-Rose
Ahanonu, Ezihe L.
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COVID-19, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, has become a public health emergency across the globe. It is a highly contagious disease, which elicits high levels of fear amongst the world population and is considered a threat to the world economy. As a response to this pandemic, international governments have devised unconventional measures to guard the health of their citizenry. Among these are the “new normal” country lockdown that mandates working from home, home-schooling of children, and physical/social distancing from friends and family. For the majority, this has resulted in momentary job loss and loneliness, and other psychological illnesses. Hence millions are frightened, depressed and panic easily as a result of the tension due to the uncertainty, which interferes with their job performance, livelihoods, international trade and the world economy. If not mitigated, this is likely to cause physical health deterioration, with severe mental illness being the outcome. To reduce mental health illnesses during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence suggests prioritising regular participation in physical activity and exercise across lifespan. It is also important for medical experts who specialise in the care and management of mental health to recognise physical activity and exercise as a medicine that can ameliorate some mental illnesses and their associated risk factors.