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The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
features

Research round-up: Covid defence

Researchers are calling for public health campaigns to highlight the importance of physical activity after new studies show a link between inactivity and a higher risk of COVID-19 complications

Published in Health Club Handbook 2021 issue 1

A study by an international team of researchers, led by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), has found physical activity can reduce the chance of catching COVID-19 by 31 per cent, while boosting the effectiveness of vaccines by up to 40 per cent.

Added to this, the team found physical activity could cut the risk of dying from infectious diseases by 37 per cent.

Led by GCU’s professor of health behaviour dynamics, Sebastien Chastin, the study is believed to be the first in the world to look into the link between exercise and COVID-19 immunity. It is based on a systematic review of 16,698 worldwide epidemiological studies published between January 1980 and April 2020.

First line of defence
The research found that 30-minutes of activity which gets people out of breath – such as walking, running, cycling and strengthening exercises – five days a week (or 150-minutes per week) can have a massive impact on immunity to infectious diseases.

Professor Chastin said this is the first piece of research which proves regular physical activity gives this protection: “The results show how physical activity strengthens the first line of defence of the human immune system by increasing the concentration of immune cells.”

The team discovered regular exercise, where the individual gets out of breath, boosts immunity to infectious disease by 31 per cent, by boosting the mucosal layer of antibodies which are responsible for identifying foreign agents in the body.

“We also found that if you add physical activity to your vaccination programme it increases the potency and effectiveness of the vaccination,” says Chastin. “A 12-week physical activity programme undertaken before the COVID-19 vaccination is given could result in 20 to 40 per cent more effective immunisation.”

Campaigns needed
The research, titled Effects of regular physical activity on the immune system, vaccination and risk of community-acquired infectious disease in the general population: Systematic review and meta-analysis – was published in the Sports Medicine journal.

The findings have been sent to the Scottish Government and other governments, public health experts and healthcare professionals around the world, including Public Health Scotland, Public Health England, the South African and Belgian governments and football’s world governing body, FIFA.

Chastin has called for public health campaigns to be undertaken to inform the public of the importance of being physically active in fighting the pandemic: “The promotion of physical activity and access for all to physical activity pursuit are paramount. Policymakers need to do everything they can to fight this disease. This is not a panacea, but another cheap tool we can use to protect the public.

Risks of inactivity
A US study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, has provided further evidence to support the argument that being physically inactive is a major risk factor for people if they contract COVID-19.

Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in California studied the outcomes of 48,440 adults who had suffered from COVID-19. They found patients who were consistently inactive for two years preceding the pandemic were twice as likely to be admitted to hospital as those who regularly clock up more than 150 minutes of physical activity every week.

Those who are physically inactive were 73 per cent more likely to require intensive care and 2.5 times more likely to die than those who’d consistently met World Health Organization physical activity guidelines.

As a risk factor for severe complications, physical inactivity was only exceeded in severity by advanced age and people having a history of organ transplant.

The study also found that consistently meeting physical activity guidelines was strongly associated with a reduced risk of serious outcomes following COVID-19.

Lockdown impact insights

Sport England’s latest Active Lives Adult Survey showed 27.1 per cent of England’s adult population is now classed as physically inactive – undertaking less than 30 minutes’ exercise each week.

The biggest hit to activity levels was during the first lockdown, when the proportion of the population classed as physically active fell by 7.1 per cent – representing more than 3m adults.

As restrictions eased, activity levels were still down compared to 2019, but reductions were smaller. There were 4.4 per cent (2m) fewer active adults from mid-May to mid-July and 3.1 per cent (1.4m) fewer from mid-July to mid-September. Restrictions imposed in November saw levels decreased by 1.8 per cent.

However, Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England says the impact could have been worse: “It’s encouraging to see so many still found ways to be active despite the majority of opportunities being unavailable or severely restricted.”

Hollingsworth also pointed out the health inequalities which the pandemic has exacerbated and urged the industry to support particular groups to return to activity: young people, disabled people, those with a long-term condition and those from a Black or Asian background. Women were shown to be less likely to return to activity than men.

“The decline in activity levels in the 16 to 24 age group is of major concern,” Hollingsworth said. “Helping and inspiring young people to re-engage with sport and physical activity must now be a number one priority for us all.”

CEO of ukactive, Huw Edwards, said it was no surprise activity levels dropped off considering gyms and leisure centres were shut for five months out of 12: “Fitness and leisure centres are essential for our nation’s health, which is evidenced by the impact of their closure, particularly on vulnerable groups such as older adults, ethnic minorities, people with long-term conditions and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.”

Edwards predicts the re-opening, especially group exercise classes which are so popular among women, would aid the nation’s physical and mental recovery.

Operators are encouraged to support disproportionately affected groups, such as young people and women to return to exercise / shutterstock/Maridav
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features

Research round-up: Covid defence

Researchers are calling for public health campaigns to highlight the importance of physical activity after new studies show a link between inactivity and a higher risk of COVID-19 complications

Published in Health Club Handbook 2021 issue 1

A study by an international team of researchers, led by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), has found physical activity can reduce the chance of catching COVID-19 by 31 per cent, while boosting the effectiveness of vaccines by up to 40 per cent.

Added to this, the team found physical activity could cut the risk of dying from infectious diseases by 37 per cent.

Led by GCU’s professor of health behaviour dynamics, Sebastien Chastin, the study is believed to be the first in the world to look into the link between exercise and COVID-19 immunity. It is based on a systematic review of 16,698 worldwide epidemiological studies published between January 1980 and April 2020.

First line of defence
The research found that 30-minutes of activity which gets people out of breath – such as walking, running, cycling and strengthening exercises – five days a week (or 150-minutes per week) can have a massive impact on immunity to infectious diseases.

Professor Chastin said this is the first piece of research which proves regular physical activity gives this protection: “The results show how physical activity strengthens the first line of defence of the human immune system by increasing the concentration of immune cells.”

The team discovered regular exercise, where the individual gets out of breath, boosts immunity to infectious disease by 31 per cent, by boosting the mucosal layer of antibodies which are responsible for identifying foreign agents in the body.

“We also found that if you add physical activity to your vaccination programme it increases the potency and effectiveness of the vaccination,” says Chastin. “A 12-week physical activity programme undertaken before the COVID-19 vaccination is given could result in 20 to 40 per cent more effective immunisation.”

Campaigns needed
The research, titled Effects of regular physical activity on the immune system, vaccination and risk of community-acquired infectious disease in the general population: Systematic review and meta-analysis – was published in the Sports Medicine journal.

The findings have been sent to the Scottish Government and other governments, public health experts and healthcare professionals around the world, including Public Health Scotland, Public Health England, the South African and Belgian governments and football’s world governing body, FIFA.

Chastin has called for public health campaigns to be undertaken to inform the public of the importance of being physically active in fighting the pandemic: “The promotion of physical activity and access for all to physical activity pursuit are paramount. Policymakers need to do everything they can to fight this disease. This is not a panacea, but another cheap tool we can use to protect the public.

Risks of inactivity
A US study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, has provided further evidence to support the argument that being physically inactive is a major risk factor for people if they contract COVID-19.

Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in California studied the outcomes of 48,440 adults who had suffered from COVID-19. They found patients who were consistently inactive for two years preceding the pandemic were twice as likely to be admitted to hospital as those who regularly clock up more than 150 minutes of physical activity every week.

Those who are physically inactive were 73 per cent more likely to require intensive care and 2.5 times more likely to die than those who’d consistently met World Health Organization physical activity guidelines.

As a risk factor for severe complications, physical inactivity was only exceeded in severity by advanced age and people having a history of organ transplant.

The study also found that consistently meeting physical activity guidelines was strongly associated with a reduced risk of serious outcomes following COVID-19.

Lockdown impact insights

Sport England’s latest Active Lives Adult Survey showed 27.1 per cent of England’s adult population is now classed as physically inactive – undertaking less than 30 minutes’ exercise each week.

The biggest hit to activity levels was during the first lockdown, when the proportion of the population classed as physically active fell by 7.1 per cent – representing more than 3m adults.

As restrictions eased, activity levels were still down compared to 2019, but reductions were smaller. There were 4.4 per cent (2m) fewer active adults from mid-May to mid-July and 3.1 per cent (1.4m) fewer from mid-July to mid-September. Restrictions imposed in November saw levels decreased by 1.8 per cent.

However, Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England says the impact could have been worse: “It’s encouraging to see so many still found ways to be active despite the majority of opportunities being unavailable or severely restricted.”

Hollingsworth also pointed out the health inequalities which the pandemic has exacerbated and urged the industry to support particular groups to return to activity: young people, disabled people, those with a long-term condition and those from a Black or Asian background. Women were shown to be less likely to return to activity than men.

“The decline in activity levels in the 16 to 24 age group is of major concern,” Hollingsworth said. “Helping and inspiring young people to re-engage with sport and physical activity must now be a number one priority for us all.”

CEO of ukactive, Huw Edwards, said it was no surprise activity levels dropped off considering gyms and leisure centres were shut for five months out of 12: “Fitness and leisure centres are essential for our nation’s health, which is evidenced by the impact of their closure, particularly on vulnerable groups such as older adults, ethnic minorities, people with long-term conditions and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.”

Edwards predicts the re-opening, especially group exercise classes which are so popular among women, would aid the nation’s physical and mental recovery.

Operators are encouraged to support disproportionately affected groups, such as young people and women to return to exercise / shutterstock/Maridav
Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Fit Tech people

Jamie Buck

Co-founder, Active in Time
We created a solution called AiT Voice, which turns digital data into a spoken audio timetable that connects to phone systems
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

Alexa can help you book classes, check trainers’ bios and schedules, find out opening times, and a host of other information
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Innovation

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We ended up raising US$7m in venture capital from incredible investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Primetime Partners, and GingerBread Capital
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Profile

Sohail Rashid

The app is free and it’s $40 to participate in one of our virtual events
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
Fit Tech People

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
Fit Tech People

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
Fit Tech People

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
Fit Tech People

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
More features