People who regularly practice sports are less likely to develop upper respiratory tract infections, and are also less likely to die from influenza or pneumonia, experts remind. Therefore, in their opinion, physical activity during a pandemic is the basis of preventive health care.
According to specialists, the re-closure of fitness clubs, gyms and swimming pools could affect the health, resilience and well-being of society. Many people will limit their physical activity.
“Clinical and epidemiological studies clearly show that people who regularly practice sports are less likely to develop upper respiratory tract infections. There are also studies suggesting that regular physical activity is associated with a reduction in mortality and the incidence of influenza and pneumonia. In people vaccinated against the flu and exercising regularly, the protective level of antibodies lasts longer "- mentions the sports cardiologist Dr. hab. Łukasz Małek, expert of the "Exercise Immunity" campaign.
He adds that regular activity, through immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, reduces the risk of overweight, obesity, and atherosclerosis, and also modulates a number of other disease processes.
The specialist reminds that overweight and obesity are one of the factors that increase the risk of infections of the upper respiratory tract. And the latest meta-analysis of research published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice shows that people with a high body mass index (BMI) are also at higher risk of having a severe course of COVID-19 regardless of age, gender, race, and other health parameters.
“Obesity and overweight reduce the body's ability to produce antibodies that help fight viruses. People struggling with increased body weight also have the lower cardiovascular and respiratory capacity, which is of key importance in the case of infections such as those caused by SARS-CoV 2. This is another argument that should convince us to take regular physical activity, also in the present day. situation "- emphasizes Dr. Małek.
The cardiologist reminds that according to the current guidelines of the World Health Organization, at least 30 to 60 minutes of activity in the form of aerobic training is recommended for most days of the week. This translates to approximately 2.5 to 5 hours of physical activity per week. “Exercises should be evenly distributed throughout the week, and not cumulated, for example over the weekend. It should be emphasized that the effects add up over time, hence the importance of regularity and continuity of training "- the specialist recommends.
The MuliSport Index Padnemia study, conducted during the spring lockdown, showed that as many as 43 percent. of the surveyed Poles limited their physical activity, mainly due to the closure of sports facilities.
Most of the respondents who decreased their activity experienced a negative impact of changing sports habits, primarily on their well-being (74%) and health (65%).
According to experts, there is a risk that this situation may repeat itself now, as gyms have been closed again to exercisers. According to the latest regulation of the Council of Ministers, gyms, swimming pools and fitness clubs can only be used by people preparing for the competition or organized classes. The new guidelines for the yellow and red zones did not apply any additional restrictions to tennis courts, squash, climbing walls, dance schools and sports dance clubs, as well as yoga schools or martial arts facilities. These facilities continue to operate with increased safety standards.
“In the current situation, it is worth paying attention to the balance of benefits and risks. While hospitals are at an increased risk of COVID-19 infection, no one will shut them down because they have far more health benefits than potential losses. The rules of their functioning are modified to minimize the risk ”- comments the specialist in infectious diseases and sports medicine, Dr. hab. Ernest Kuchar. As he points out, physical activity undertaken in sports facilities is associated with health benefits, and - importantly - sports facilities were not outbreaks of coronavirus infections.
"Scientific research and analyzes of fitness organizations show no increased epidemic risk in fitness clubs and gyms that follow sanitary recommendations - I feel sorry for the treatment of sports facilities in the same way as weddings and nightclubs" - assessed Dr. Kuchar.
The MultiSport survey conducted in the summer, after the opening of sports facilities, shows that as much as 92%. people who returned to physical activity after a period of social isolation experienced an improvement in well-being, and 88% improving health.
Tomasz Groń, the managing director of Benefit Systems Fitness Division, assessed that fitness clubs ceased to be places of recreation where we only care about the figure, but became centers operating in a high sanitary regime, in which Poles exercise for psychophysical health. The re-closure of sports facilities may once again contribute to a reduction in the level of physical activity in the society and a long-term deterioration of well-being, emphasized Groń.
He reminded that even before the lockdown period, an educational campaign "Exercise Immunity" was launched, which encourages Poles to undertake regular physical activity for health, in a fitness club, as well as at home. Currently, an alternative to training in the gym can be online training, e.g. as part of the Yes2Move.com platform, or live training with coaches. (PAP)