Being active during lockdown: the recovery potential of physical activity for well-being

Objective. To examine the indirect relationships between physical activity, and well-being (i.e., need satisfaction, subjective vitality, and stress) of individuals, through recovery experiences (i.e., detachment from lockdown, relaxation, mastery and control over leisure time) during the spring 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. Design. Cross-sectional. Methods. 405 participants answered an online survey including questions on physical activity, recovery experiences, subjective vitality, perceived stress and basic psychological needs satisfaction. Structural equation modelling tested a full-mediated model in which physical activity predicted recovery experience, which in turn predicted well-being. Results. Physical activity was positively related to a latent variable representing recovery experiences, which in turn was positively related to a latent variable representing well-being. Conclusions. Physical activity carried out regularly during the COVID-19 lockdown predicted positively well-being through recovery experiences. The study results highlight the importance of maintaining or increasing physical activity during periods when recovery experiences and well-being may be threatened.
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