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Women's Mental Health More Sensitive To Exercise Than Men's During Pandemic

The Hawk
September14/ 2022

New York: According to recent research from Binghamton University, the State University of New York, women's mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic was more likely to be impacted by physical activity frequency than men's.

The effect of dietary and lifestyle choices on mental health is a topic that Lina Begdache, an assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University, explores. Her team recently examined the effects of exercise frequency, day of the week, and various pandemic stages on mental discomfort, with apparent disparities between men and women.

2,370 people responded to the survey, and the results were examined. The poll asked 41 questions about demographics, education, eating habits, sleep, physical activity frequency and pattern, and mental health status. Additionally, the pandemic was divided into three distinct phases: before, during, and late COVID-19, where "during" denoted the lockdown time and "late" characterised the relaxation of restrictions.

Researchers discovered that women needed moderate exercise to achieve mental well-being during the pandemic, a time of high levels of stress. In contrast, frequent exercise was beneficial for men.

"Stress on the body occurs during exercise. But because it frequently has pleasant connotations, it is seen as eustress [moderate or normal stress], according to Begdache. "The exercise's benefits are lost when it is overused, which is distressing. Men and women secrete different amounts of the stress hormone (cortisol) in reaction to intense exercise, it is well known.

According to Begdache's research, women should modify their workout regimens while feeling uneasy to keep their minds in a stable state and their spirits high. Women are more likely than men to report experiencing stress, which shows that they have a lower stress tolerance, according to Begdache. Therefore, frequent exercise may increase stress levels and have a bad effect on mental health. The researchers also discovered that, depending on the day of the week, exercise frequency modifies mental health. While women's mental health tended to decline on weekdays, men were more likely to experience mental health problems on the weekends. This can result from the necessity to manage obligations as a mother while working and homeschooling their kids. Additionally, the study shows a link between complete inactivity and mental anguish in both men and women. Increased exercise frequency and relaxation of COVID limit improved mental health. Increased exercise frequency fuelled the urge to concentrate on weight control because weight gain was a problem during the lockdown and also gave people's life more structure.

Zeynep Ertem, an assistant professor of systems science and industrial engineering at Binghamton University, and Anseh Danesharasteh, a graduate student there, also contributed to this study. —ANI