Covid and sports, exercise protects against more serious forms

Correct and constant physical exercise even at home, at all ages and especially in the elderly, is one more shield against Covid-19. Avoiding the loss of muscle tissue associated with aging reduces the risk of serious consequences of any coronavirus infection, because good muscle mass promotes a correct immune response. Having healthy muscles also accelerates the healing and recovery process, counteracting the main symptoms of the post Covid-19 syndrome which, according to a research conducted by geriatricians of the post-Covid Day Hospital of the Agostino Gemelli University Hospital Foundation Irccs – Università Cattolica Campus di Rome, involves tiredness or breathlessness in 87% of patients who are affected and who complain of persistent malaise even weeks after the resolution of the infection.

Exercise is therefore a real ‘life-saving drug’, both to reduce the risk of getting sick and to better overcome the disease in case of contagion, returning to normal more quickly and better. This was underlined by the experts on the occasion of the publication of the volume ‘Muscles in health. The key to well-being at all ages’ (edited by Silvia Di Maio and Federico Mereta – Gribaudo editions), to which Francesco Landi, president of the Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics (Sigg), director of Uoc Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine, contributed Gemelli Polyclinic Foundation and professor of internal medicine and geriatrics at Cattolica.

In the book just published, created with the contribution of the Danone Institute Foundation, the experts tell the importance of muscles for good health at all ages and how to take care of them, to spread knowledge, prevention and healthy habits. The proceeds from the sales will be donated to the geriatric research of the Gemelli Polyclinic Foundation.

“It is well known that a correct and constant physical exercise at any age counteracts the loss of strength and muscle tone associated with aging, and especially in the elderly, for whom physical activity is a lifesaver because it has positive repercussions on cognitive abilities. , disability, cardiovascular and respiratory function, the sleep-wake rhythm – explains Landi – The central role of muscle mass has also been observed in reference to Covid: the fitter elderly have a lower risk of serious progression of the disease, because they have a more efficient immune system. ”

“On the other hand, those suffering from sarcopenia and malnutrition – continues the expert – according to data published in ‘Advances in Nutrition’ by the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, have fewer circulating T lymphocytes and are unable to cope with the Metabolic ‘overwork’ necessary to fight the virus. In those affected by Sars-CoV-2, moreover, there is a rapid and often substantial loss of weight and muscle mass which should be dealt with immediately in a decisive manner “.

“The muscles in fact literally thin and weaken, leaving a feeling of fatigue that accompanies patients for weeks even after the infection is resolved.” Data collected on our patients – adds Landi – show that 87% manifest at least one signal of discomfort even once healed and that the most frequent symptoms of post Covid-19 syndrome are fatigue (53%) and breathlessness (43%), both directly connected to the loss of muscle tone. By rapidly intervening on patients infected with Sars-CoV-2 with personalized exercises, to favor the maintenance of general and respiratory muscle tone, a better and faster recovery is possible “, concludes the specialist co-author of the volume.


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