Image by Lauren Lee / Stocksy

It goes without saying that the past year has put a strain on mental health worldwide. Not only have we been dealing with a pandemic, but it’s led to changes in our day-to-day lives that have subsequently affected our mental health, as well.

In a new study published in the journal Sport Sciences for Health, researchers identified one big factor at play: sitting. Here’s what they found and what to do about it.

Studying the effects of sitting versus exercise.

With fewer activities to do and more people staying home, people everywhere are sitting more and more. For this study, researchers wanted to look at how sitting time and physical activity were affecting mental health (i.e., emotional and psychological well-being).

They had just under 300 adults complete online questionnaires where they reported their sitting time, exercise levels, and mental health.

As study co-author Liane Azevedo Ph.D., notes in a news release, “Although our sample of nearly 300 was very active, they were sitting for longer periods, with over 50% sitting for more than eight hours a day.”ADVERTISEMENT

What they found.

As it turns out, the increased sitting time we’ve seen as a result of the pandemic could be one of the biggest things negatively affecting mental health. Even people who were getting the recommended amount of exercise (30 minutes per day) reported worsened mental health if they were sitting more than eight hours per day.

Compared to the people who reported high sitting time, those who reported low sitting time (regardless of their activity level) had significantly better mood and emotional well-being, according to the study.

Azevedo notes that if you’re sitting for more than eight hours a day, not only do you want to aim to get around 60 minutes of exercise per day, you also want to work on sitting less. She adds that the negative effects of sitting need more attention, and sitting less should be adopted as a public health recommendation.

The takeaway.

The bottom line is physical activity can’t completely make up for the negative effects of sitting for more than eight hours a day. And even if you don’t meet the recommended workout criteria, simply reducing sitting time can make a big difference in your mental well-being.

Azevedo adds that physical activity doesn’t always have to look like a HIIT workout or going for a run. “Just going for a walk, especially in green areas is really important. Any type of moderate activity does have benefits,” she says, adding that their study found even leisure activities and gardening can help both physically and mentally. 

If you find yourself sitting for a lot of the day, and it’s taking a toll on your mind, the good news is that getting up and moving can go a long way. Whether you break from your desk for a midday walk, invest in a standing desk, or set a timer to get up and stretch throughout the day, your physical and mental health will both benefit.



“Of the 900 cases related to the Provincetown cluster, there have been no deaths, 7 hospitalizations, and the symptoms are largely mild,” said Provincetown’s Town Manager.

Although many of the COVID infections in last month’s outbreak in Massachusetts were among the vaccinated, few people got very sick.

“The vaccines are working,” said Provincetown Town Manager Alex Morse in a Tweet on July 30. “Of the 900 cases related to the Provincetown cluster, there have been no deaths, 7 hospitalizations, and the symptoms are largely mild.”

“Our positivity peaked at 15% on 7/15 and was only 4.8% yesterday. The outbreak is contained and Provincetown is safe,” he continued.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study that found 346 of the 469 reported coronavirus infections at that time occurred in people who were fully vaccinated. The outbreak happened between July 3–17 in Barnstable County as large summer gatherings took place in Provincetown.

Of the breakthrough cases in the report, 274 were symptomatic, while four people were hospitalized. One other infected individual who had not been vaccinated was also hospitalized.

Testing found that 90% of specimens from 133 patients contained the Delta variant. The most common side effects were cough, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, and fever. No deaths were reported.

“This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “The masking recommendation was updated to ensure the vaccinated public would not unknowingly transmit virus to others, including their unvaccinated or immunocompromised loved ones.”

teen vaccine

A person getting vaccinated | CREDIT: GETTY

The CDC previously released new guidelines on Tuesday based on new science around the Delta variant, which has become the most predominant strain circulating in the United States. Appearing in four out of five infected samples, the Delta variant has been known to infect vaccinated people and spread to others on occasion.

The new guidelines included the continued push for COVID-19 vaccinations, as they have been shown to reduce the spread of COVID-19, in addition to preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even with the Delta variant.

Vaccinated and unvaccinated people in areas with substantial-to-high transmission rates are recommended to wear masks in public indoor spaces. Additionally, those who are not inoculated are urged to continue wearing masks until they are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the CDC recommends K-12 students return to full-time in-person learning in the fall, with proper COVID precautions in place.

“This moment, and most importantly, the associated illness, suffering and death, could have been avoided with higher vaccination coverage in this country,” said Walensky. “COVID-19 continues to present many challenges and has exacted a tremendous toll on our nation. We continue to follow the science closely and update the guidance, should the science shift again. We must take every step we can to stop the Delta variant and end this pandemic.”


Ventilator monitor ,given oxygen by intubation tube to patient, setting in ICU/Emergency room Credit: Getty

“It’s one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this — they’re all up there,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky

The delta variant of COVID-19 is likely as contagious as chickenpox and causes more severe illness than other strains of the virus, according to data found in an internal document from the Centers for Disease Control.

Health officials at the CDC said in the document, obtained by the Washington Post, that it’s time to “acknowledge the war has changed” as the U.S. struggles to deal with the delta variant with just under half of the country not vaccinated against COVID-19.

The findings back up CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s decision this week to recommend that fully vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in areas with high rates of COVID-19, she told CNN after verifying the legitimacy of the document.

“I think people need to understand that we’re not crying wolf here. This is serious,” she said. “It’s one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this — they’re all up there.” The CDC also announced this week fully vaccinated people with breakthrough cases may spread COVID-19 as easily as unvaccinated people.

As of July 30, new COVID-19 cases have jumped by 151% in the last 14 days, according to The New York Times, and the U.S. is now averaging around 71,600 new infections a day.

“The number of cases we have now is higher than any number we had on any given day last summer,” Walensky said.

Along with urging mask-wearing indoors for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, the CDC has said that anyone in schools this fall, including students, staff and visitors, should wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status. In the document, the CDC also recognized that they need to change their messaging to get more Americans vaccinated.

“The measures we need to get this under control — they’re extreme. The measures you need are extreme,” Walensky said.

Four months since the COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, less than half — 49.4% — of the country is fully vaccinated against the virus, according to CDC data. Slightly more, 57.2%, have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Among those who are eligible for vaccination, people aged 12 and up, 66.9% have received at least one dose and 57.7% are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 cases had been on the decline as Americans got vaccinated, dipping down to around 11,000 a day in early June. But as the delta variant became the dominant strain in the U.S., cases again soared back to levels not seen since February, when the vaccines were not readily available to all Americans. The biggest increase in cases have been in southern states like Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas and Florida, all of which have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that all federal employees will be required to get vaccinated or be subjected to weekly COVID testing. He urged everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“This is an American tragedy. People are dying — and will die — who don’t have to die. If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die,” he said. “Read the news. You’ll see stories of unvaccinated patients in hospitals, as they’re lying in bed dying from COVID-19, they’re asking, ‘Doc, can I get the vaccine?’ The doctors have to say, ‘Sorry, it’s too late.’ “


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