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Physical activity can protect against respiratory infections


People who do aerobic and muscle-toning exercises reduce the risk of death from pneumonia and flu by 54%, according to a review of studies

The benefits of physical exercise on health have been demonstrated on many occasions.

Reduces the risk of suffering pathologies such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and various types of cancer, including breast and kidney cancer.

It also increases life expectancy and helps fight depression and anxiety.

Now there is evidence that a higher level of physical activity is related to a lower incidence of acute respiratory infections (ARI), as well as milder symptoms in case of developing them.

ARIs such as the common cold, pneumonia, influenza, covid 19 and bronchitis are the diseases that contribute the most to the burden of disease and mortality worldwide, according to a review of studies published in the

Journal of Sport and Health .


in 2022. The text states that the risk of mortality from these diseases decreases between 36% and 40% in adults who perform moderate to vigorous physical activity.

In the case of people who participate in aerobic and muscle-toning sports, the risk of death from pneumonia or flu is reduced by 54%, the research continues.

Pablo Berenguel, head of the Sports Medicine Working Group of the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG), says that, according to estimates, each year a child suffers around five upper respiratory tract infections, and an adult between two and three.

In addition, these pathologies are among the four leading causes of death and disability in both children and adults worldwide, the text adds.

In fact, they are the leading cause of death from infection in the world, explains Rosario Menéndez, head of Pneumology at the La Fe Hospital in Valencia.

In January, a study published in the journal

Pediatric Research

tracked the physical activity of 110 children ages four to seven using smartbands.

The authors observed a lower prevalence of respiratory infections in the most active group and that, among the children who practiced more physical exercise and those who did less, the symptoms lasted, on average, four days less as they increased by a thousand steps. diaries.

This reduction was accentuated especially in children who practiced sports regularly, adds the research.

Manuel Praena, a member of the Respiratory Tract Group of the Spanish Association of Primary Care Pediatrics (AEPAP), who has not participated in the work, considers that, although the causes of this relationship are still not clear, it opens up a path of investigation " interesting".

Children are the ones who suffer the most from these infections because they have a more immature immune system and, if they get complicated, they can lead to other pathologies such as otitis, adds the pediatrician.

Rosario Menéndez, who is also a member of the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery, points out that the explanation could be found in two factors: "physical activity improves the response of the immune system and promotes anti-inflammatory activity."

In addition, the doctor explains, it helps to counteract what professionals call immunosenescence.

With aging, the immune system loses efficiency and exercise "helps to get it in shape."

Moderate sport enhances the body's defensive response, reducing the incidence and severity of infectious processes, especially those of a respiratory nature, explains Pablo Berenguel, from SEMG

Research published in 2021 in the journal

Plos One

and carried out with 2,690 older people in the United Kingdom showed that those with moderate and high cardiorespiratory fitness (the ability to perform exercise of a certain intensity and long duration) had a significantly lower risk of mortality from covid -19 compared to those with low aptitude.

Overall, the 2022 review sees a robust reduction in the risk of severe covid-19 in people with high Cardiorespiratory Fitness and those who follow recommended physical activity guidelines and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

How much sport do you have to do?

The WHO recalls that one in four adults does not reach the recommended levels of physical exercise and, in the case of adolescents, the figure rises to 80%.

The institution recommends that minors between the ages of five and 17 spend at least 60 minutes a day practicing moderate to intense anaerobic physical activity.

For people between the ages of 18 and 64, he suggests they invest at least 150 to 300 minutes (two and a half to five hours) per week.

The medical guidelines, says Pablo Berenguel from SEMG, reflect that the most appropriate exercise for patients with respiratory diseases is regular aerobic sport at an intensity that allows talking while doing the activity.

Instead, they warn that anaerobic exercise requires high oxygen consumption all of a sudden, which lowers the level of oxygen in the blood more than it already has.

Aerobic activities help people with a respiratory disease to reduce the sensation of suffocation and increase tolerance to effort, while resistance training helps to increase muscle mass and strength, says Berenguel.

If both are combined, an increase in the ability to perform the tasks of daily living is achieved, a decrease in the number of exacerbations, an improvement in the quality of life and an increase in the years of healthy life, concludes the health worker.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-02-07

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