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Low Levels of Physical Activity during lockdown Increases the risk of chronic diseases

Researchers have found that individuals with chronic diseases such as hypertension, lung disease, and obesity reduced their physical activity during COVID-19 lockdown. 

The research led with the London School of Hygiene &Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Bath also found comparative low levels of physical activity for individuals with depression and disabilities.

In this study, data is collected from an online survey of more than five thousand adults aged 20 years and more. This survey confirms that more than fifty percent of individuals have kept up a similar intensity of physical activity as they did before COVID-19 lockdown while one-fourth of them have adopted low levels of physical activity.

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This latter group, who reduced their physical activities during COVID-19 lockdown have health conditions that increase the risk of experiencing the most serious impacts of COVID-19, should they contract the SARS-CoV2 infection.

Dr. Nina Rogers (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) is the lead author of the study. She says that low levels of physical activity put people at high risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and obesity that are also risk factors for more serious complications if anyone develops COVID-19.

Study in detail here.

Researchers are worried because multiple lockdowns might lead to low levels of physical activity that could increase the number of individuals who are most vulnerable to severe complications from COVID-19.

The present study also found that individuals with chronic diseases as well as the individuals who saw themselves or others in their homes to be at risk had more frequently adopted an inactive lifestyle.

Dr. Chrissy Roberts is an Associate Professor at the London School of Hygiene &Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and senior author of the study. She says, “We believe that the trade-off between being protected from COVID-19 and the health detriments of reduced physical activity could place already vulnerable populations in a potential ‘no-win’ situation.”

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At the point, when they are discussing the more vulnerable individuals, who already have basic health issues, but the individuals who see themselves to be in danger as well.

They could well observe occasional cycles of COVID-19, as they do with influenza. If that is the situation, then they need to think to protect individuals from this COVID-19 pandemic, or the one that could come next year.

During coronavirus pandemic, the physical activities are more important for all people to protect them from several severe health conditions. Physical activity may include gardening, cycling, play, walking, dance, active recreation, doing heavy shopping, house cleaning, and participation in sports.

If an individual feels that he is at risk now and reduces his physical activity then this could set him on a course towards building up similar hazard factors that would make them helpless against extreme complications from COVID-19 in ensuing epidemic waves.

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 Study participants were named doing the “Same,” “Less” or “More” than their usual power of physical activity by contrasting their intensity of physical activity before the COVID-19 lockdown with their intensity of physical activity during the lockdown.

During the survey, this type of questions with multiple response options was asked: “Before the outbreak began, what type of exercise did you regularly do?” with response options 1) None, 2) Mild (walking short distances, doing DIY) 3) Moderate (A gentle workout, digging the garden, dancing) 4) Vigorous (Running/Jogging/Hiking, Cycling, Weightlifting). 

Overall, this new report suggests that ignoring the health and fitness in coronavirus pandemic could bring long term side effects. Medical experts suggest adding light to moderate physical activity during this lockdown period to be fit and active.