Over the past year, the pandemic has taken a significant toll on people's mental health. As a result, it became necessary for many to change their routines while finding new ways to improve their overall wellbeing. To get a look at exactly how people did this, FitRated surveyed over 1,000 people to get the specifics on pandemic activities that improved mental health.
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At the top of the list was hiking — 82% of participants said that it improved their mood and 86% said it increased their happiness. For those that had access to a backyard space, this was also crucial. In terms of a better mood, 80% of respondents said time in the backyard provided them with this, while 75% reported increased happiness.
What else improved people's mental health?
Next up, when looking at what specifically bettered people's moods, we have walking (77%), biking (74%), running (73%), gardening (69%), exercising (68%), camping (56%), fishing (53%), and visiting a farmers market (42%). Focusing on what increased happiness, the same activities were experienced at lower percentages — except for fishing (55%) and visiting a farmers market (47%).
One of the activities that surprised us the most was "visiting a farmers market." It's interesting to note that people felt comfortable participating in this community activity, which leads us to believe that many farmers markets took proper pandemic precautions over the past year. It's also a bonus that farmers markets tend to be held outside.
What has the pandemic changed?
Overall, since the start of the pandemic, 74.6% of participants said that they now value outdoor time more than they did before. In particular, as pandemic restrictions wane, people are most excited to start walking, visiting farmers markets, dining on restaurant patios, exercising, camping, and picnicking.
While the pandemic was tough on many, it's good to know that individuals have found ways to adapt. In the future, it will be especially interesting to see if these routine changes stick around or morph into something else entirely.
Anna is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle and design content for Hunker. She's written for Apartment Therapy, the L.A. Times, Forge, and more. She previously worked as the lifestyle editor at HelloGiggles and deputy editor at So Yummy. Her email: email@example.com