Tag Archive for 'Covid-19'

Some people have not yet understood what the vaccine is for

Roberto Burioni
@RobertoBurioni 7 nov
Chi – arrivati a questo punto – non ha capito il beneficio che ha portato questo “siero” non ha bisogno di un virologo ma di un bravo neurologo.

Physical activity and risk of infection

Ezzatvar Y, Ramírez-Vélez R, Izquierdo M, et al Physical activity and risk of infection, severity and mortality of COVID-19: a systematic review and non-linear dose–response meta-analysis of data from 1 853 610 adults British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 22 August 2022. 

Our analysis reveals that individuals who engage in regular physical activity have lower likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 infection, COVID-19 hospitalisation, severe COVID-19 illness and COVID-19-related death than physically inactive individuals.

We found the following evidence:

The association between regular physical activity and an 11% lower risk of COVID-19 infection.

Engaging regularly in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is associated with 31% lower prospective risk of infectious disease and 37% lower risk of infectious disease-related mortality.

Participating in physical activity has been reported to reduce the incidence of community-acquired pneumonia and the risk of acute respiratory infections (eg, upper respiratory tract infection).

Adults who engage in regular physical activity have lower risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation and severe COVID-19 illness than those who are physical inactive.

Physically active people will have less severe symptoms, shorter recovery times and may be less likely to infect others they come into contact with.

High physical activity level was a protective factor for COVID-19 mortality.

Several mechanisms have been suggested for the putative protective effects of physical activity in the immune system:

In healthy humans, physical activity has been linked to reduced systemic inflammation, enhanced natural killer cell cytolytic activity, increased T-cell proliferative capacity, lower circulatory levels of inflammatory cytokines (ie, decreased ‘inflamm-ageing’) and increased neutrophil phagocytic activity, which can all enhance viral control. Thus, regular moderate-intensity exercise may be effective in enhancing anti-inflammatory responses,

The level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness of the individuals, as both likely play a pivotal role in explaining the protective effect of physical activity on COVID-19 hospitalisation, severity and mortality.

Furthermore, individuals from lower socioeconomic status and low-income or middle-income countries may face additional difficulties in engaging in regular leisure physical activity compared with those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds (ie, limited resources, living in neighbourhoods with less access to parks or with less walkability, paying the costs of participating in registered sports or membership in sport clubs), which may place an even greater pandemic burden on these marginalised groups. The challenge is to ensure equitable access to physical activity to ensure better health outcomes for all.

Several limitations must be considered when interpreting our results:

Most of the participants included in the 16 studies were mainly exposed to the infectious Beta and Delta variants, before the Omicron variant became prevalent globally.

Most of the studies used self-reported questionnaires to determine physical activity levels, which may lead to misclassification (ie, an underestimation of the magnitude of true association) and used different definitions to determine physical activity levels.

Most of the studies obtained data on physical activity status at a single point and collected only leisure-time activities, and not household and occupation-related physical activities, which may impact the magnitude of true associations.

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.

Less sport, more youth distress

In this period we talk a lot about the positive role of sport for young people and the serious problems that this pandemic has exerted on its development, basically preventing the practice of sports in swimming pools, at school and in all contact sports.

In fact, youth activities that are not of national interest have been almost completely prohibited, and the activities of thousands of sports clubs have been stopped. This is a serious matter that no one has been concerned about and for which no one has been interested in finding solutions. I have already written about this several times and I have not read statements that emphasize a sense of community with those who work in schools and in sports, but only categorical statements that the gyms will no longer be available for sports. From a social point of view, the lack of sports as well as distance learning has increased the discomfort of young people and increased the frequency of states of anxiety, depression and conflict within families.

This dramatic situation and its negative effects on the health of young people is part of an Italian context that is extremely lacking in opportunities for young people to participate in sports. In fact, in our country only 50% of 15-17 year olds practice sports on an ongoing basis and only 41% of schools have a gym (with the highest peak in Friuli Venezia Giulia where gyms are in 57% of schools: therefore, a consistently low data).

Thus, the pandemic has disproportionately expanded an already serious problem. Pragmatic solutions would have been necessary, but instead solutions have been sought by using the same spaces (the classrooms) that obviously contradict physical distancing. The same goes for sports, we could have thought of forms of collaboration between sports clubs and the school to bring students to outdoor spaces to do physical activity. A country less bureaucratic and concerned with young people would have found solutions.

New ebook: the pandemic in sport

The year 2020 is gone and it will be remembered as the worst year of the last 75 years, for having involved the entire world in a crisis, initially a health crisis, which became a planetary pandemic that has disrupted the lives of every person, causing millions of victims, destroying a significant part of the world economy and radically changing the way we work and interact with others. I am a psychologist and I deal with sport and the well-being of those who practice it, whether they are champions and professionals or individuals who carry out this activity as a lifestyle. The pandemic has forced us to stay home, physical distancing and eliminate sports activity as we knew it. Managing movement and sporting activity has become a source of additional stress that has produced negative psychological effects on people who even engage in recreational activity, among athletes who play sports professionally, and people with disabilities who benefit so obviously from engaging in sports on an ongoing basis.

Starting from these considerations, I began to talk about this situation on my blog, in order to better understand the effects of the pandemic on people and to provide guidance on how to practice sports, respecting the rules to cope with and reduce the possibility of contagion. The book represents a journey that started at the beginning of March, which has led me to talk about this issue until now that we are approaching the beginning of the new year. It talks about the mindset of those who don’t follow the rules, how one can deal with the anxiety brought about by this radical change in daily life, how one can train while staying at home and the reasons why it is good to be active and not suffer this situation. In addition, guidance is given to coaches on how not to give up their leadership role and to athletes on how to train in the absence of competition. Finally, I present practical tips and ways to think about and experience this unique and totally unexpected time.

Shooting: pandemic psychological aspects

The psychological aspects of a nightmare year. Online in the Italian magazine of the shooting federation. 

Today constraints could open our mind?

Read this information trying to think if the constraints we live today can help us open our mind and channel our creativity.

Ravi Mehta, Meng Zhu, Creating When You Have Less: The Impact of Resource Scarcity on Product Use Creativity, Journal of Consumer Research, 42(5), 2016, 767–782.

As we become a more abundant society, do our average creativity levels decrease?

Findings from recent research support this proposition. In accordance with our line of reasoning, the analysis of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking performance data over the past five decades indicates that in spite of the rise in IQ scores, creative thinking scores have significantly decreased since 1990, especially for kindergarteners through third grade students (Kim 2011).

Various lines of research suggest a possible negative correlation between resource availability and creativity and Historians have suggested a negative relationship between overconsumption and innovation.

The literature on:

  • Materialism shows that high levels of material values are negatively associated with individuals’ intellectual and spiritual development
  • Consumption and society argues that creativity is incompatible with the repetitiveness of modern mass production, which is shifting the culture from one that was intellectually challenging into one that is harried, familiar, and entertaining.
  • Paradoxes of technology suggests that while innovation and technology provide various benefits such as freedom, control, and efficiency, they could also usurp human motivation and skills, leading to dependence, ineptitude, and disengagement

Aware of our preconceived thoughts, delete them

Every day we try to explain our performances and what is happening around us. This trend is particularly perceived when we have to explain unexpected events to ourselves.

The pandemic we are experiencing this year is an event that falls in this last situation. One wonders how it was possible for this virus to spread. Who could have ever imagined that we were living in this situation as it was like the cholera and plague epidemics of the past centuries, and that science and our health care systems were completely unprepared.

In these times, we too often fall into providing explanations based on our own prejudices. We told ourselves that it was the fault of the Chinese and that the virus had been built in the laboratory or that it was the fault of the migrants who spread it because they are dirty. Others have chosen different explanations, the deniers have chosen the defense mechanism that is called denial. Still others thought that the virus was a justification for governments to control people’s lives, so they also rebelled against the rules of their governments, so they did not put on the mask and did not wash their hands.

How to change? How to accept reality? It would take a period of re-attributive training to learn how to shift the origin of our explanations from a superficial, selfish and prejudiced interpretation to one based on reality analysis, on data and not on subjective impression.

We would need this approach to regain control of our emotions, bringing our attention to those favoring the acquisition of self-control and not based on fear but on the responsibility that everyone has towards everyone.

We need leader-coach

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” Judy Garland
In these times of crisis this statement is more relevant than ever. It is for everyone, but even more so it is a question to be answered by leaders, those who guide and orient others.

The health crisis has regained strength and if to some extent the world of corporations is going down paths to support their leaders and managers even with the collaboration of the most important consulting companies, in the Italian sports world there is no trace of this mentality from professional soccer to amateur sports clubs. If in NBA specific projects are proposed in order to allow the public to return to see the matches, we ask more superficially to let more people enter the stadium, thus superimposing the goal on the tool. Without explaining how it is safeguarded the health of all. In addition, the quarrel between the different structures of the same sport and the propensity to formulate proposals by “sly” are the other elements that do not allow to formulate documented projects.

Going to the level of the end users of sport, even in this area, to my knowledge, there are no proposals. Coaches and athletes are left alone to live and manage this period of great fear and difficulty. Those who have had to stop and those who work are forced to live this period leveraging only on themselves and as far as I can see from my experience in recent months, the difficulties have multiplied, many have taken a pessimistic or fatalistic approach while more optimistic have leveraged their creativity trying to implement alternative solutions to maintain an active presence.
“We live in fear” is heard more and more often, you no longer have the unconsciousness of the first months of lockdown, in which it was thought that after that period we would return to normal, now we live the anxiety of living a situation that we do not know when it will end and in the meantime we live to the day and every day increase the people we know who get sick.

It is just now that we feel more this social loneliness, which is added not only to the fear of getting sick of Covid-19 but also that any other health problem that we know we will not be treated because the hospitals are in crisis.

In this context we cannot leave alone sports clubs, coaches and athletes from those who are preparing for the next Olympics to young people from soccer schools and all sports, we must not leave alone even people with disabilities for whom sport is an essential activity for their well-being.
In this sense, in compliance with the rules formulated by the government, it would be necessary that starting from the coaches who have the direct relationship with the athletes a concrete support (not only economic) is provided to their leadership to continue to carry out their work on the fields for those who are allowed and at a distance for those sports that have been stopped.

In this period, it is necessary to develop and act using these skills:

  • Deliberate calm and optimism, be confident but aware of the gravity of the situation.
  • Listen and share, the problems and fears of the people we work with.
  • Act, formulate training programs appropriate to the situations in which people live.