Physical Exercise as a Resilience Factor to Mitigate COVID-Related Allostatic Overload

Author: Ajandek Eöry1,2, Dora Békési3, Ajandok Eöry4, Sandor Rózsa5,6
1 Division of Integrative Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary,
2 Hungarian Acupuncture and Moxibustion Society, Budapest, Hungary,
3 Rácz Károly Clinical Medicine PhD School Semmelweis University Hungary, Budapest, Hungary.
4 Hungarian Acupuncture and Moxibustion Society, Budapest, Hungary.
5 Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Budapest, Hungary.
6 Department of Psychiatry, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri, USA.
Conference/Journal: Psychother Psychosom
Date published: 2021 May 8
Other: Volume ID: 90 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 200-206 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1159/000514331. , Word Count: 274

The long-lasting threat of COVID-19 makes it necessary to explore strategies to improve coping skills which enable us to master a balanced life in the face of adversity.

To unravel the most challenging aspects of COVID-19 in a nonclinical adult population and identify predictors of lost balance and consequent allostatic overload (AO). We examined the role of regular, moderate-intensity formula aerobic exercise (312 meridian exercise) in preventing allostatic overload through increasing well-being.

An online survey was conducted to measure CO-VID-related allostatic overload according to clinimetric criteria. The Psychosocial Index (PSI), Kellner's Symptom Questionnaire (KSQ), short Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21), Public Health Surveillance Well-Being Scale -(PHS-WB), and Whiteley-7 were used to explore mental health characteristics. Univariate statistics logistic regression analysis and a general linear model were used.

According to 442 valid answers, 217 adults practiced physical exercise (PE) frequently (fPE, 3-5 times/every day) while 120 did it less regularly (1-2 times/week), and 105 did not exercise/practiced irregularly (controls). Restriction-related stressors were most challenging, resulting in AO in 29% (n = 128) of the sample. The main predictors were additional stressors (p = 0.005) and anxiety symptoms (p < 0.001). The prevalence of AO was lower (p = 0.018) in the fPE group when compared to controls. KSQ distress symptoms were also lower in fPE (p < 0.0001), while total well-being was increased (p < 0.001) after adjusting for sex, age, and number of chronic diseases. According to the PHS-WB, both physical and mental well-being were higher (p = 0.003 and p = 0.004, respectively) in fPE.

Frequent moderate exercise is associated with better mental and physical well-being and a lower prevalence of AO.

Keywords: 312 meridian exercise; Allostatic overload; Physical exercise; Resilience; Well-being.

PMID: 33691321 DOI: 10.1159/000514331