Tag Archive for 'attività fisica'

Physical activity in nature improve the wellness

Baena-Morales, S., Garcia-Taibo, O., Baena-Extremera, A., Tomás González-Fernández, F. (2023). Physical exercise in natural environments and its influence on directed attention. Education implication. A systematic reviewInternational Journal of Sport Psychology, 54(2), 152-174.

There is sufficient evidence to confirm that practice of physical exercise improves cognitive and emotional performance. This idea is also related to UNESCO’s current trend of establishing connections with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and educational actions. Furthermore, the relationship of humans with nature seems to produce an improvement in different cognitive variables and specifically in directed attention. The mere presence of the human being in nature produces psychological, well-being and directed attention benefits. However, there is little research on the synergistic effect of physical exercise in natural environments, and how this affects directed attention, as a determining variable in academic performance.  The main objective is to show the effect of the physi- cal exercise in natural environments on the directed attention in compar- ison with those performed in urban or built environments. The present systematic review analyzed studies that had evaluated the performance of directed attention when physical exercise in natural environments was practiced. Methods: A systematic review of PUBMED, SCOPUS, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science databases was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Results: Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria of the review. Most of these studies were crossover or controlled trials investigating the effects of short-term exposure in natural environments during physical exercise. There is no consensus on the benefits of the physical exercise in natural environments for the directed attention. The studies provide theoretical foundations that could explain some of the potential benefits. However, more rigorous research is needed to control the variables that may influence the improvement of directed attention.

Management of chronicle anxiety and physical activity

“So far, anxiety has been discussed as a sports-related phenomenon, but anxiety disorders can also take on a psychopathological dimension, and the traditional treatment used is drug therapy and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. Nevertheless, recently physical activity and particularly aerobic exercise has been studied as a specific treatment for treating anxiety disorders. The efficacy of this motor practice is well recognized for the positive effects produced on physical health, from improved cardiorespiratory fitness, to reduction of blood pressure and body fat, as well as reduction of cognitive disorders and improved well-being. A review on this topic [de Souza Moura et al., 2015] highlighted that 91 percent of the studies that investigated the positive effect of exercise on anxiety symptoms showed significant results, while 9 percent of the studies, while not reducing symptoms, generally improved some physiological aspects, such as increased oxygen uptake and physical activity level. Regarding the methodology used in the exercise protocols, it was found that the results varied according to the different experimental approaches the researchers used. The studies are not homogeneous in terms of volume, intensity and days of activity per week, thus making it impossible to provide general guidelines. However, aerobic exercise in addition to other psychological and pharmacological therapies has been observed to be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, but the best amount and type of activity to be performed has not yet been identified.

However, there appear to be five lifestyle habits that are key to promoting well-being and longer life expectancy [Li et al., 2018]. The greater their development, the greater the likelihood of the to live well and longer, they can be summarized as follows:

  • A healthy diet, calculated and evaluated on the basis of a diet primarily based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids, and aimed at avoiding less healthy or unhealthy foods such as red and processed meats, sugary drinks, trans fats and excess sodium.
  • An adequate level of physical activity, measured as at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity, such as brisk walking.
  • A healthy body weight, defined by a normal body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.
  • No smoking, as there is no healthy amount of smoking.
  • Reduced alcohol intake, measured between 5 and 15 grams per day for women and between 5 and 30 grams per day for men. Generally, one glass contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. That’s 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled alcohol (1 ounce equals 29.57 ml – 1 liter equals 1,000ml).

Those who possess even one of these habits are likely to live two years longer than those who have developed none. And those who at the age of 50 regularly practice these five appear to gain 10 more years of life in the absence of a predisposition to develop genetic diseases.

(Source: Alberto Cei, 2021)

The pandemic negative effects on physical activity on youth

Global Changes in Child and Adolescent Physical Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Ross D. Neville, Kimberley D. Lakes,Will G. Hopkins, Giampiero Tarantino, Catherine E. Draper, Rosemary Beck, Sheri Madigan.
JAMA Pediatr. Published online July 11, 2022.

This meta-analysis provides timely estimates of changes in child and adolescent physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. By pooling estimates across 22 studies from a range of global settings that included 14 216 participants, we demonstrated that the duration of engagement in total daily physical activity decreased by 20%, irrespective of prepandemic baseline levels. Through moderation analysis, we showed that this reduction was larger for physical activity at higher intensities. Specifically, the average reduction in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day during COVID-19 (17 minutes) represents a reduction of almost one-third of the daily dose of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity recommended for young children (~3-5 years) and school-going children and adolescents (~5-18 years) to promote good physical health and psychosocial functioning.

We found that longer durations between pre- and post-assessment were associated with larger reductions in physical activity. It is possible that the cumulative toll of the pandemic has compounded over time to negatively affect children and adolescents,63 including their levels of physical activity. This aligns with a recent meta-analysis on youth mental health,18 which found that the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms increased across time during the pandemic. The temporal aspect of our findings is also broadly in line with research on the psychology of habit,64,65 which suggests that habits are contingent on the types of stability cues that have been significantly disrupted during the pandemic. Most of the known multicomponent, family, social, and community support mechanisms of child and adolescent physical activity66 were unavailable during COVID-19. This undoubtedly created a “perfect storm” for habit discontinuity65 in the context of child and adolescent physical activity.67 Research has also shown that young children with consistent access and permission to use outdoor spaces during COVID-19 had better physical activity outcomes.50 These children exhibited smaller reductions in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and were approximately 2 times more likely to meet physical activity guidelines during COVID-19. Taken together, changes in restrictions and the unpredictability of access to typical physical activity outlets for children and adolescents have likely contributed to changes in their physical activity levels and to greater engagement in displacement activities (eg, screen time12) that risk promoting an increasingly sedentary “new normal.”68

We found that reductions in physical activity during the pandemic were larger for samples at higher latitudes, corresponding to regions of the globe where restrictions coincided with a seasonal transition into the summer months. This finding is consistent with prepandemic data showing that unstructured summer days during school holidays can have negative associations with both academic and physical health behaviors,69-71 often referred to as the “summer slide.”72 A recent estimate of such a summertime reduction of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity of 11.4 minutes69 is substantially lower (~ 50%) than the pooled estimate from our meta-analysis, however. This suggests a substantial intensification during the pandemic of the usual summer slide into physical inactivity,70 which warrants particular attention from policy makers seeking to help children “sit less and play more,”73 as targeted initiatives will be needed as children emerge into the summer months.

There is an urgent need for public health initiatives to revive young people’s interest in, and support their demand for, physical activity during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of practice implications, research on physical activity promotion and maintenance during childhood consistently shows that multicomponent, multimodal, and multioutcome interventions work best.7,66 Therefore, public health campaigns can have greater effect if they are child-centered, target a variety of physical activity modalities, and incorporate the family unit and wider community as co-constructors of lasting physical activity behavior change.

How too assess our fitness without fear

How to mentally approach the fitness assessment exercises

This part represents the beginning of the physical work and is strongly influenced by your mental attitude. The assessment tests represent the first step of the training program, and the psychological condition with which you approach them determines together with the physical condition the results you will obtain. Therefore, it is necessary to approach this activity with a mental attitude that favors not only the best motor expression of which you are currently capable, but also in an emotionally pleasant way. A negative psychological approach to testing can manifest itself with the following thoughts:

  1. Terror with regard to the tables - the individual with this approach provides a negative, self-evaluating assessment of himself or herself if he or she fails to achieve the intermediate or fair level from the first assessment test.
  2. I will never be able to improve - the individual with this approach does not believe themselves to be able to improve. He or she feels crushed under the weight of an inability that will crush him or her anyway and, therefore, is not even capable of thinking he or she can improve.
  3. I am too old or too fat - this approach differs from the previous attitude because the individual attributes the inability to improve to an objective factor, his age or weight.
  4. I am ashamed of my physique - this idea often limits the action of those who approach an activity before even starting it.

What to do when these concerns are present. One possibility is to focus on the positive aspects that increase the motivation to get involved in the activity. A positive approach is characterized as follows:

  1. Tables represent only indicative values - Tables represent a standardized system that take into account only one individual variable – age – and ignore the others. Is it possible that a bricklayer and a clerk have the same results after the first evaluation test? Of course not!
  2. I build my table - It is good to use the first test to establish what your current base level is and build on this to build better levels of fitness.
  3. I improve with training - It is necessary to be aware that whatever the starting fitness level, physical activity carried out following a program will determine an improvement that will produce well-being.
  4. Exercise is enjoyable and important to me - before training begins it is important that the person considers what they are about to do as important and positive to learn.

10 reasons to increase the young physical activity

Let’s remember why exercise is essential for the young development.

  1. It improves the cardiovascular system, so aerobic activity and its ability to circulate blood and oxygen has been used to explain improvements in brain function and cognition (increased capillary growth).
  2. Increased neural network due to greater diffusion of neurotransmitters.
  3. Growth of new neurons in areas of the hippocampus that promote learning and memory.
  4. In young people the greater the demands of school performance, the greater the need for breaks.
  5. Free, unstructured play reduces cognitive interference, promoting learning. More evident in children than in adolescents and adults (cognitive immaturity hypothesis).
  6. Affective relationships and collaboration with peers support learning and inhibit antisocial behavior.
  7. Gradual development of “executive skills” (response inhibition, memory, and decision-making flexibility).
  8. The amount of time children are involved in motor activity and sports is proportional to their school performance; the more time the greater the educational benefits for children and adolescents.
  9. An important consideration for school administrators is the impact of motor activity programs on academic achievement. Schools with more minutes of physical activity have higher levels of academic achievement.
  10. A program called “system-fit” that integrates age-appropriate physical activity is an opportunity to help children who can be defined as kinesthetic-student and children who do not adjust well to the school environment.


Sport and disability in Italy

The Paralympic Games highlighted the value of sport as an expression of self-realization and inclusion. In 2019, Istat had produced a report on the world of disability in Italy of which we report what was highlighted in relation to sport.

For people with disabilities, in the past, there was no possibility of practicing physical-sport activities, especially at a competitive level; only in the twentieth century appeared the first sports events of an international nature. Despite the fact that the concept of Sport for All is now widely shared, involvement in sport remains very low.

  • Only 9.1% practice a sport on a regular basis. The proportion of sportsmen and women increases significantly when their limitations are less severe (reaching 20.5%). Among the population with no limitations it corresponds to 36.6%.
  • People with severe limitations who, while not practicing sports, do some physical activity, are 14.4% (less than half of the value reached by the population with no limitations, i.e., 29.1%). Among people with less severe limitations, those who are engaged in physical activities are 27.6%.
  • Out of 10 people with severe limitations, about 8 declare they are totally inactive, that is, sedentary, and do not engage in any sport or physical activity, compared with 34.1% among the population without limitations.
  • Among people with severe limitations, significant differences are seen in gender (13.7% of men play sports, but only 6.0% of women) and age (20.7% of people under 65 play sports, compared with 2.7% of the elderly).
  • Territorial distances are observed with a marked North-South gradient: 11.9% of people with serious limitations living in the North participate in sports, compared with 6.3% of those living in the South.
  • Socio-economic inequalities are also strong: among people with severe limitations who have a medium-high level of education or excellent or adequate economic resources, higher levels of involvement in physical-sporting activities are achieved.
  • Higher levels of adequate physical activity are observed among people with (moderate or severe) difficulty in sensory areas (9.5% compared with 21% of people without any limitation in this functional area), and much lower levels among people with (severe or moderate) difficulty in walking30 (3.3% compared with 21% of those not limited in this area).

Exercise and cancer prevention

  1. Getting regular exercise is about to become increasingly important to help prevent cancer.
  2. A growing number of people report gaining weight after cutting back on physical activity, while others say they eat more junk food.
  3. Being overweight or obese leaves individuals vulnerable to tissue damage and cancer development, with more than a dozen types of cancer that have been linked to excess weight in recent studies.
  4. Tobacco and smoking remain the leading cause of cancer; obesity is now the second highest risk and is likely to become the leading cause in the future.
  5. People are quitting smoking but increasing numbers are becoming overweight and obese.
  6. It is predicted that by 2040 obesity will have surpassed smoking as the leading preventable cause of cancer.
  7. breast and bowel cancers benefit from better physical activity.
  8. Scientists found that gentle exercise reduced levels of liver inflammation in mice, which can lead to tumors, and improved metabolism in older mice, even in those that had advanced liver disease. Physiological activityResearch is important because liver cancer rates in humans have increased by three-fifths in the UK over the past decade,
  9. 135,000 cases of cancer – about four out of 10 British cases – could be prevented each year largely through lifestyle changes with more physical activity.
  10. The real problem is having too much fat in our bodies. However, there is plenty of evidence that helping people become more active can do a lot of good. And this area is understudied, so it’s very possible that there may be more cancer prevention benefits through increased physical activity that we don’t yet know about.
(Source: The Guardian)

In Italy, no square for physical activity at school

I read the rules for opening schools in Italy.

Physical activity has disappeared and gyms will become classrooms.

Dysfunctional conception of young people’s development is highlighted.

Obesity and sedentarily will increase: the parents’ weight status, their level of education and family income are associated with the Child’s Body Mass Index. So those who are more disadvantaged will be even more!

Physical activity and depression

New study shows Physical Activity dramatically reduces depression despite genetic high-risk. Evidence-based primary prevention for #depression must include Physical Activity background.


Karmel W. Choi et al. Physical activity offsets genetic risk for incident depression assessed via electronic health records in a biobank cohort study. Depression & Anxiety, 5 novembre 2019.



Physical activity is increasingly recognized as an important modifiable factor for depression. However, the extent to which individuals with stable risk factors for depression, such as high genetic vulnerability, can benefit from the protective effects of physical activity, remains unknown. Using a longitudinal biobank cohort integrating genomic data from 7,968 individuals of European ancestry with high‐dimensional electronic health records and lifestyle survey responses, we examined whether physical activity was prospectively associated with reduced risk for incident depression in the context of genetic vulnerability.


We identified individuals with incident episodes of depression, based on two or more diagnostic billing codes for a depressive disorder within 2 years following their lifestyle survey, and no such codes in the year prior. Polygenic risk scores were derived based on large‐scale genome‐wide association results for major depression. We tested main effects of physical activity and polygenic risk scores on incident depression, and effects of physical activity within stratified groups of polygenic risk.


Polygenic risk was associated with increased odds of incident depression, and physical activity showed a protective effect of similar but opposite magnitude, even after adjusting for BMI, employment status, educational attainment, and prior depression. Higher levels of physical activity were associated with reduced odds of incident depression across all levels of genetic vulnerability, even among individuals at highest polygenic risk.


Real‐world data from a large healthcare system suggest that individuals with high genetic vulnerability are more likely to avoid incident episodes of depression if they are physically active.