As we already know, the rapid and uncontrollable spread of the Coronavirus worldwide, combined with its severity, caused the World Health Organization (WHO) to characterize the situation as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Since then, an increasingly intense effort has been made by health associations and public authorities to contain the advance and spread of the virus.
Physical activity and immunological response
Faced with the threat that the virus poses to people’s health, it is encouraged to maintain a good level of physical activity as part of the protective measures to combat the Coronavirus; Good health is essential during this period of confrontation. The practice of moderate physical activity improves the immune system and also contributes to the protection and fight against chronic diseases, which can worsen as a consequence of the Coronavirus.
The mechanism for improving the defense of our body can be achieved as a result of regular physical activity, it promotes an increase in lymphocytes, cells called “natural killers”. The natural killer cell has the function of destroying tumors or virus-infected cells.
In addition, physical activity promotes stress reduction, since our body works harmoniously, making interrelationships between the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. The reduction of stress makes the body stronger and less susceptible to various diseases.
Sedentarism is a risk factor
In times of home confinement, the population tends to adopt an extremely sedentary routine, this favors an increase of weight gain in the body, favoring the emergence of comorbidities associated with greater cardiovascular risk, such as obesity, increased blood pressure, glucose intolerance, as well as anxiety and depression. Sedentary behavior, whether sitting, watching television, or simply spending time in front of electronic devices, has been linked to an increase of body weight in all ages, causing a considerable increase in the risk of cardiovascular mortality.
An analysis published by the World Bank on 26 August found that obesity not only increases the risk of death in patients with COVID-19 by almost 50%, but it also limits the effectiveness of a coronavirus vaccine.
It is also noted that the risk of infection by the coronavirus to the upper respiratory tract is potentially greater to those with an immune system deficiency. These risks as well as cardiovascular diseases and mortality are reduced by following and maintaining a physically active lifestyle.
Physical activity as disease prevention
Admittedly robust scientific evidence has shown that regular practice of physical activity is preventively associated with the most varied causes of mortality. More than gaining muscle mass or losing fat, the role of physical exercise in cognitive functions and regulation of emotions seems to be increasingly relevant.
Hormones such as serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphin, also known as the “happiness hormones” are produced by the body itself and released in specific situations, such as sports. These hormones can promote well-being, joy, and even avoid and threatening diseases, such as depression. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide. It is essential to stimulate the production of these hormones in the body to prevent diseases especially during these times of the coronavirus.
Given all these benefits, the main tip is to keep moving. Remember that the longer you stay seated in your daily routine, the greater the chances are of directly harming your health, both physically and mentally.
Recommendations and frequency of the practice of physical activity according to WHO
- Adults (18 – 64 years old): should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (about 20 minutes a day) or at least 75 minutes of vigorous, intense physical activity a week (about 10 minutes) per day).
- Children and teenagers (5 – 17 years old): should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
- perform pleasurable activities, making space in your home specifically for exercising, this could also be outdoor spaces, such as parks if allowed;
- playing and exercising with children, adolescents, and pets, think of games you played as a child that promote higher expenditure of energy than the resting condition;
- set aside time for stretching, relaxation, and meditation activities;
- avoid sedentary behavior, alternating times between sitting or lying down with periods of physical activity, reducing the time of using electronic devices;
If you consider yourself an inactive person who is not in the habit of engaging in physical activity, start by relating it as something pleasurable, something that will have an extremely beneficial effect on your life in the long run. If physical activity is related to something unpleasant, tiring, or even boring, you will already have a negative feeling in advance and will not allow yourself to enjoy it. If you find no pleasure in exercising then focus on creating long-term goals. Sticking to a routine will decrease your chances of giving up.
On days when I am discouraged, a tactic that I use is to look for people who inspire me on social media. People who live a healthy lifestyle, despite having busy schedules and countless other priorities. Believe me, seeing the profiles of these people working for their goals and creating habits for a healthier life encourages me to try new activities pushing me out of my comfort zone. If this tactic helps me, it can help you too!
Always remember the reason why you start doing a certain activity and insist! Prevention is the best way to maintain health and avoid future complications.
Our body is our temple, we need to take care of it, because if you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?