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Fear of long-term consequences — physical activity could actually help to better manage the pandemic.
During the first lockdown people were a good 40 percent less active, as shown by an international study led by Goethe University Frankfurt. Psychological well-being sank as well; the portion of people at potential risk for depression tripled. The authors fear long-term consequences and urge that this be taken into going forward.
On the one hand, physical activity levels have gone down ificantly, on the other hand, psychological well-being has suffered. About 15, people in participating countries answered standardised questionaires as part of an international survey. More than two thirds of those questioned were unable to maintain their usual level of activity. Moderate exercise decreased by an average of 41 percent according to self-reported data - this includes anything that increases heart rate and breathing, such as brisk walking, running, cycling or even strenuous gardening. The proportion of vigorous exercise during which people sweat and clearly run out of breath fell by a similar amount 42 percent.
The effects were somewhat higher among professional athletes and particularly active people, as well as comparatively young and old people. The decline in activity was particularly noticeable among people over 70 years of age, who were 56 to 67 percent less active than before. The WHO recommends at least minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intensive physical activity per week - 81 percent of the study participants achieved this before the pandemic, but only 63 percent during the lockdowns.
Yet sufficient exercise can reduce mortality by up to 39 per cent, as a study showed. Data suggests that too little exercise plays a role in about one in ten premature deaths, because physical activity reduces the likelihood of, for example, high blood pressure, metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Exercise is known to activate the immune system because it promotes blood circulation and activates lymphocytes and messenger substances cytokines that are important for immune defence. Studies show that physically active people are less susceptible to influenza, rhino and herpes viruses and respiratory infections in general. So it may be that exercise also offers protection against severe COVID by reducing risk factors such as obesity. Physical health and exercise also reduce the risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety disorders.
In another part of the study, the team of authors asked about mental well-being during the pandemic restrictions. The perceived quality of life as measured by the WHO well-being Index, which measures mood, relaxation, activity, rest and interest, dropped on average from 68 percent before the pandemic to 52 percent during the first lockdown phase.
Above all, people felt less "active and full of energy" and led a life less "filled with interesting things". The proportion of very low scores indicating a possible risk of depression tripled from 15 to 45 percent. This could also translate into rising health costs: According to US data, the annual expenditure for inactive or insufficiently active people increases by and euros respectively - this would add up to two to four million euros after one year just for the people from the survey who did not exercise enough during the lockdown.
The of these first multinational studies are likely to be relevant for an estimated four billion people worldwide who were affected by the restrictions of the first coronavirus wave in the spring of However, the data was predominantly collected through electronic media, so populations without internet were not included. Also, no differentiation was made according to factors such as living environment, education and social status. In addition, the data is based on self-assessments, not measurements, which may distort retrospective perceptions in particular. They suggest better public education, creating exercise opportunities with a low likelihood of infection, or offering effective home exercise programmes.
Among numerous other health facets, this would have a particularly positive effect on mental well-being. Negative effects similar to those observed in these studies should be avoided at all costs in future pandemics. Publications: Jan Wilke et al. A Pandemic within the Pandemic?
Public Health, Vol. Jan Wilke et al. Toggle DE. GU Home Organisation Press releases Physical activity levels and well-being sink worldwide during coronavirus restrictions — study led by Goethe University. May 27 Exercise helps prevents disease and reduces mortality The WHO recommends at least minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intensive physical activity per week - 81 percent of the study participants achieved this before the pandemic, but only 63 percent during the lockdowns.
Mental well-being drastically reduced In another part of the study, the team of authors asked about mental well-being during the pandemic restrictions.Well endowed and hosting asap women only
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