Getting outdoors and staying healthy is important even during a pandemic, and a team of researchers are hoping to gather data about how the two may correlate. (Goldstream News Gazette)

Researchers at UFV looking into effects of pandemic on activity and mental health

Survey is online now to gather data from people of all backgrounds on physical activity changes

Researchers in Chilliwack are curious how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people’s physical activity and well being.

And so, they’ve launched a public survey to see if they can find some answers.

Dr. Iris Lesser is a physical activity researcher at the University of the Fraser Valley, who has already been overseeing a research study on exercise and anxiety in cancer patients. Now, she’s also working with Dr. Carl Neinhuis, a psychology researcher at UFV, and Dr. Lisa Belanger at the University of Calgary.

“We are conducting an online survey to learn about your physical activity behavior, environmental preferences and mental health since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing parameters in Canada,” she says.

Both anxiety and depression are projected to be on the rise, due to fear and uncertainty, grief and economic loss, she says. And physical activity has many benefits associated with mental well being.

“These are thought to be amplified when conducted in a natural environment,” she says, something that she witnessed in the recent study with cancer survivors.

READ MORE: Cancer anxiety research program returns for spring hikes

“Walking in the woods decreased trait anxiety and reduced perceived stress after eight weeks,” she says. “Participants cited nature as one of the most important aspects to this reduced experience of anxiety.”

While she is always eager to see people increase their activity levels, she also wants to remind everyone to keep the current restrictions on our behaviors in mind. Everyone must work to flatten the curve and stay home as much as possible.

Still, she says, exercise and being outdoors is key to a positive healthly lifestyle, including activities like walking, jogging or cycling.

”However, we must recognize that there will be changes to how we participate in these activities with the necessity of practicing physical distancing,” she says. “Some ways that this can be ensured is by choosing less popular outdoor locations and exercising at non peak hours. For instance, if you arrive at a trail head and see many vehicles consider finding a different location.”

She also hopes everyone will take about 30-45 minutes to join in their research survey, which is available through Survey Monkey.

It’s called Life in Lockdown: Canadian Physical Activity and Psycho-Social Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

READ MORE: Trail density has gone down in Chilliwack from last weekend’s overcrowding


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusmental healthresearch

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford family looking for pair of stolen Shih Tzu puppies

Breeder Kate Classon stated that someone stole the pooches from her Abbotsford home on Sept. 21

Open letter urges BC Liberal party to remove Laurie Throness as Chilliwack-Kent candidate

The letter says Throness holds homophobic views and should have no place in government

Chilliwack man pleads guilty to violent assault of elderly man in Abbotsford

Victim, 85, attacked while waiting at bus stop in November 2019

Staff shortages plague Mission Institution following recovery from COVID-19 outbreak

Guards at 60% of workforce; inmates suffer daily with lockdown, mental health issues

Conair in Abbotsford donates $22,000 to Crystal Gala Foundation

Company challenges others to support foundation during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. starts October with 82 more positive COVID-19 tests

10,899 tests a record for a single day, Bonnie Henry says

Missing mushroom picker in northern B.C. found dead

Witset elder found deceased in Price Creek area more than two weeks after he vanished

BC Greens focus on long-term care reform in first platform promise

Greens have promised to move away from the for-profit care home model

‘It’s a nightmare’: Northern B.C. family desperate after living in hotel for a year

Renae Podgorney says because of a lack of rentals, she’s now applying to rent a one-bedroom unit

Costs climb to more than $100K for BC SPCA to care for animals in B.C. farm seizure

Eight puppies, of the 97 animals seized have now died from parvovirus enteritis

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chilliwack man, 31, in critical condition after altercation at Langley university

RCMP received a report of an ‘agitated man’ on TWU campus

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. VOTES 2020: Wilkinson to stop 24-hour camping in city parks

Ban on ‘unsafe roadside panhandling’ to be enforced

Most Read