The Covid-19 Pandemic and the Effects of Inactivity

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the time spent at home has increased in our country as of March 2020. With the joint decision of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Education and YÖK, education was made online, while the curfews of 65 years and older were limited to certain hours. As a result of millions of students sitting at home for hours at the computer, the load and mobility of the spine decreased.

Studies conducted before the pandemic showed that only 10 percent of children aged 5-17 could not reach the 60 minutes of moderate-to-advanced physical activity in a day recommended by the World Health Organization. Studies conducted after the pandemic show that this rate has decreased to 3 percent. pandemic againThe time spent in front of the screen during the period exceeds the limit of 2 hours per day several times. Especially in big cities, along with the duration of online education, the hours spent in computer games are added to this situation. In a study conducted with 2,427 children and young people in China, it was observed that the time spent in front of the screen increased by 30 hours per week. However, when the time spent in front of the screen was compared, it was determined that the leisure time activities were above the lesson. For example, in the USA, while this time is 90 minutes a day for lessons, it exceeds eight hours for leisure time activities.

Sleep quality also deteriorated

Another effect of the Covid-19 epidemic on children and young people is related to sleep patterns. For the normal development and mental health of children between the ages of 5-17, 9-11 hours of daily sleep is recommended. Studies conducted in various countries during the epidemic showed that the sleep of children during the day increased by about an hour, but the quality of it deteriorated. At this point, the fact that children and young people go to bed later and wake up later also affected their daily rhythms.

Immobilization, which can be defined as the immobilization of a region, has important effects on the muscle, cardiovascular, endocrine and nervous systems. It is a known fact that 2 percent loss occurs in the quadriceps with only two days of rest (four major muscle groups on the front of the thigh) , and 10 percent loss in the large muscle groups after a week of bed rest .

With inactivity, insulin resistance develops, insulin use of the muscles is impaired, and blood sugar irregularities occur. According to researches; At home, the ability to move for two weeks at rest decreases by 7 percent, and in people over 60, it decreases twice as much. It was also observed in previous studies that young people lost 11 percent of their heart volume during the 20-day sedentary period.

Inactivity also affects autonomic nerve cells.

Rest does not only lead to loss of muscle strength. It also negatively affects protein synthesis between muscle-nerve cells . After inactivity, an increase in the tendency of different surfaces to stick to each other is observed in autonomic nerve (neural) cells. This situation is also observed after spinal cord paralysis. Resistant, high-intensity, aerobic exercises should be performed together in order to maintain energy-requiring functions in a healthy way. Studies have also found that exercises performed with only body weight can replace those performed with standard weights.

What to do:

Even with only 10 days of inactivity, an increase in muscle protein breakdown (increase in 3-methylhistidine) is observed, while a low physical activity of 750 steps per day leads to significant regressions in both metabolic and muscle protein synthesis within 2 weeks. On the contrary, moderate physical activity, which goes over 5,000 steps in 2 weeks, cannot quickly reverse these bad results.

  • Considering that a member of the hunter-gatherer society walked 16 km a day during the Chipped Stone period, the daily physical activity level should be kept at least 30 minutes and above with the support of various mobile applications during the epidemic period while we are closed at home.

*Exercising regularly helps to achieve maximum muscle volume and strength at the age of 20-25, and the muscle strength of athletes who exercise regularly throughout their lives is 30% higher than their peers.

*Children and teenagers can get through with less problems at home with gamified exercises. Our hope is to increase the time spent outdoors where physical activity is best done, with vaccinations and declining cases.