The Effects of Lockdowns on One’s Health
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive upheavals in all aspects of our lives. It took away millions of lives all over the world and had pushed limits on our capacity to cope with problems related to public health, food systems, and work. Since the pandemic started, people have to stay indoors and practice social distancing to avoid catching the virus. Since then, there have been numerous studies investigating the effects of prolonged periods of staying indoors and a changed lifestyle.
How did the lockdowns affect our health?
Effect on mental wellbeing among children and young people
Studies suggest that the lockdowns have mixed impacts among quarantined children and young adults. The study’s parent participants stated that during the quarantine, their kids have been experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since 2019, most schools worldwide were closed, and thus, kids have to stay home, limiting playtime and interaction with other kids.
As several Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospitals, individuals have to stay away from them as much as they can. Most doctors also have to spend most of their time caring for Covid-19 patients in critical condition. As they focus on treating patients, outpatient services may not be convenient. Meanwhile, clinics may have to limit their number of patients to avoid overcrowding. The children’s dentist may not be present at all times as they also have to limit the number of clients per day to observe social distancing.
Studies have been conducted in hard-hit nations like India and China to determine the effect of the lockdowns among young adults. These young people reportedly showed depressive symptoms and anxiety. Confusion, disruption of one’s normal routine, and prolonged isolation have been significant contributors to these negative behaviors.
Experts also advise young adults to regulate their time spent on social media. In the UK, many people are feeling anxious about the current condition. Anxiety levels are also higher among younger people who were previously quarantined and return to college. Most of them are scared that their peers will stigmatize them or make them an outcast of the group.
Negative impacts on migrants and individuals in poor socio-economic conditions
The struggles of people belonging to these subgroups had intensified when the pandemic happened. Aside from experiencing economic difficulty, the lockdowns traumatized them and inflicted them with mental distress. Levels of anxiety have also increased and have generally affected their mental health negatively.
Participants interviewed in the study were anxious about their living conditions and the possibility of being infected with Covid-19. Staying indoors also reminds them of previous unpleasant experiences, such as being imprisoned. Some migrants also feel bored, depressed. As they stayed longer in the same space with others, some conflicts may develop. They also missed their relatives back home, fearing that they will get in contact with the virus. Social marginalization worsened, and social services are delayed, resulting in economic difficulties and decreased mental health outpatient services activities.
Scholars recommended the increase of physical activity in these times when induced lockdowns happened. Individuals should perform at least 150-300 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. One should also include Muscle strengthening workouts at least twice a week. Experts also recommend that people from all age groups take a walk daily to promote a healthy cardiovascular system and regulate normal blood sugar levels. Exercise also lowers the risk of developing other chronic diseases such as cancer, dementia, and osteoporosis.
Moderate to intense exercises can also improve one’s mood and quality of sleep. When people feel well-rested and happy, they may also improve their cognition and decision-making.
Experts recommend green exercises or outdoor exercises that will provide lots of opportunities for people to have sun exposure. Brisk walking, jogging, and cycling are activities that people should try to experience a difference in their mental and physical well-being during the quarantine. To avoid getting bored, one may alternate their exercise routines.
Indoor exercises are also a good option during intense lockdowns. The staircases can be a good tool to do cardiovascular exercises. Other cardio and muscular fitness exercises such as jumping and hopping are good routines among people living in small apartments. Meanwhile, one may consider using elastic bands for muscle strengthening. Of course, people can always modify exercise routines to suit their energy levels and age.
Then again, everybody should be cautious in choosing exercise routines. One may start with mild exercises in a shorter period of time and increase gradually per day or week. Experts do not recommend excessive exercises as they may contribute to immunodepression and increased risk of infection.