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Exercise vs. isolation and covid-19

At this time, many people are living in social isolation or in quarantine to avoid spreading the new SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, and to stop the spread of the pandemic. But you don’t have to be still.


Marnie Fiallo Gómez


And although seclusion at home and hygienic efforts are the only vaccine against Covid-19 for now, being apart affects many psychologically because they find it difficult to process so much information and they stress because they want to be aware of each news item.

Both confinement and the knowledge of what is happening in every corner of the planet generate feelings of anguish, anxiety and irritability in the majority, for which specialists suggest occupying the time to its fullest. For this reason, they recommend options such as reading, crafts, DIY, indoor gardening, group games that include the family, household chores, working from home and studying.

And even psychologists, clinicians, cardiologists and endocrinologists recommend exercising, especially for those who are overweight, hypertensive, diabetic or have other ailments that need physical exercise to control and improve them.

It does not have to be a rigorous routine, a daily dose of jumping rope can be enough, this is a simple and fun exercise that helps keep the musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary systems in shape.


Additionally, a recent study, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), points out that skipping can be key for astronauts to keep fit in tight spaces.

Experts consider that this easy and simple exercise can be carried out in homes, given the population’s situation of general confinement due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research demonstrated the effectiveness of skipping in counteracting the effects of prolonged rest on Earth, something that Jonathan Scott, team leader for medical projects and technology at the ESA European Astronaut Center, describes as “one of the oldest activities in the world”.

According to Scott, traditional exercise programmes for astronaut training combine aerobics and running with strength training but ensures that the human musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary systems do not know the difference between the two forms, as they only respond to mechanical and metabolic stress.

“Skipping seems to provide the right level of stimulation for many different systems. If we narrow it down to what is essential for future missions, this exercise targets the areas required to stay physically healthy while addressing the challenges we face, such as lack of time, lack of space and less access to equipment,” he emphasised.

Against respiratory distress

According to scientists at the American University of Virginia, regular exercise can prevent or at least reduce the risk of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), one of the main causes of death in patients with Covid-19.

Experts looked at an antioxidant known as extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) that hunts down harmful free radicals, protects tissues, and helps prevent disease.

The body’s muscles naturally produce this component and secrete it into the circulation to allow binding with other vital organs, but its production is enhanced by cardiovascular exercise, says Dr. Zhen Yan, leader of the study.

During the research, published in the journal Redox Biology, they found a decrease in the antioxidant in several diseases, including acute lung disease, ischemic heart disease, and kidney failure.

According to the study, a single exercise session increases production of the antioxidant, which is why Yan urges people to find ways to exercise even while maintaining social distance.

It also suggests EC-SOD as a potential treatment for ARDS and many other health conditions, and asserts that gene therapy, for example, could one day be used to increase production of the antioxidant so that its protective presence in the lungs is enhanced in patients fighting Covid-19. (PL)

(Translated by Hannah Phelvin) – Photos: Pixabay

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