• Adapted Physical Activity to Ensure the Physical and Psychological Well-Being of COVID-19 Patients

      Center for Biotechnology, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (Temple University) (2021-01-29)
      The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been responsible for a global pandemic involving massive increases in the daily numbers of cases and deaths. Due to the emergency caused by the pandemic, huge efforts have been made to develop COVID-19 vaccines, the first of which were released in December 2020. Effective vaccines for COVID-19 are needed to protect the population, especially healthcare professionals and fragile individuals, such as older people or chronic-disease-affected patients. Physical exercise training generally has health benefits and assists in the prevention of several chronic diseases. Moreover, physical activity improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and improving self-esteem. Therefore, the present review aims to provide a detailed view of the literature, presenting updated evidence on the beneficial effects of adapted physical activity, based on personalized and tailor-made exercise, in preventing, treating, and counteracting the consequences of COVID-19.
    • Coronavirus Outbreak in Italy: Physiological Benefits of Home-Based Exercise During Pandemic

      Center for Biotechnology, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (Temple University) (2020-05-07)
      The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has forced the hardest-hit populations, like Italians, to radically change their daily habits, starting with social distancing, strict preventive measures, and self-isolation. These precautions also apply to sport-related facilities and activities. The difficulty to practice physical activity during this dramatic moment in time adds to the risks associated with sedentary habits, due to staying all the time at home. Here, the importance and the benefits of maintaining exercise routine, even at home, are emphasized in order to avoid the consequences of inactivity.
    • Elite Athletes and COVID-19 Lockdown: Future Health Concerns for an Entire Sector

      Center for Biotechnology, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (Temple University) (2020-05-07)
      In this editorial, we focused our attention on elite athletes during the COVID-19 lockdown. A high level of physical fitness is required by elite athletes irrespective of the specific type of sport. Generally speaking, elite athletes avoid long periods of rest during and at the end of the competitive season. Normally, elite athletes stop training or reduce training volume and intensity for a period that ranges from two weeks to a maximum of four weeks.
    • One Year of COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy: Effect of Sedentary Behavior on Physical Activity Levels and Musculoskeletal Pain among University Students

      Roggio, Federico; Trovato, Bruno; Ravalli, Silvia; Di Rosa, Michelino; Maugeri, Grazia; Bianco, Antonino; Palma, Antonio; Musumeci, Giuseppe; Musumeci|0000-0002-8260-8890 (2021-08-17)
      The COVID-19 outbreak forced Italian students to reduce their daily activities, inducing a seden-tary attitude that was worsened by distanced learning. This study aimed to survey the physical activity levels that were maintained before and during the social restrictions following the pan-demic, their correlation to musculoskeletal pain, as well as analyzing the impact of these COVID-19 restrictions on pain and fatigue that affects daily life activities. A total of 2044 students completed the online questionnaire, of which the results of 1654 participants were eligible. Before the pandemic, the levels of physical activity were distributed as: 19.9% no activity, 30.1% light ac-tivity, 21.5% moderate activity, and 28.5% high activity. After one year of the pandemic, 30.6% of the participants were inactive, 48.1%, 10.9%, and 10.5% stated as maintaining, respectively, light, moderate and high levels of physical activity. Furthermore, 43.5% reported neck pain and 33.5% stated to experience low back pain. Physical activity levels lower than 150 min/week may have predisposed students to suffer from neck pain (1.95 OR at 95% CI, 1.44–2.64) and low back pain (1.79 OR at 95% CI, 1.29–2.49). A positive correlation between physical activity levels, Verbal Descriptive Scale (VDS), and pain frequency have been observed for neck and low back pain (p-value < 0.05). Finally, low physical activity levels were associated with musculoskeletal pain onset and pain worsening.
    • Physical Activity Levels and Related Energy Expenditure during COVID-19 Quarantine among the Sicilian Active Population: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey Study

      Center for Biotechnology, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (Temple University) (2020-05-26)
      Background: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Italian government has adopted containment measures to control the virus’s spread, including limitations to the practice of physical activity (PA). The aim of this study was to estimate the levels of PA, expressed as energy expenditure (MET–minute/week), among the physically active Sicilian population before and during the last seven days of the COVID-19 quarantine. Furthermore, the relation between this parameter and specific demographic and anthropometric variables was analyzed. Methods: 802 Sicilian physically active participants (mean age: 32.27 ± 12.81 years; BMI: 23.44 ± 3.33 kg/m2) were included in the study and grouped based on gender, age and BMI. An adapted version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire—short form (IPAQ-SF) was administered to the participants through an online survey. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test and the Kruskal-Wallis rank-sum test were used for statistical analyses. Results: As expected, we observed a significant decrease of the total weekly energy expenditure during the COVID-19 quarantine (p < 0.001). A significant variation in the MET–min/wk in the before quarantine condition (p = 0.046) and in the difference between before and during quarantine (p = 0.009) was found for males and females. The male group decreased the PA level more than the female one. Moreover, a significant difference in the MET–min/wk was found among groups distributions of BMI (p < 0.001, during quarantine) and of age (p < 0.001, both before and during quarantine). In particular, the highest and the lowest levels of PA were reported by the young and the elderly, respectively, both before and during quarantine. Finally, the overweight group showed the lowest level of PA during quarantine. Conclusion: Based on our outcomes, we can determine that the current quarantine has negatively affected the practice of PA, with greater impacts among males and overweight subjects. In regards to different age groups, the young, young adults and adults were more affected than senior adults and the elderly.
    • The impact of physical activity on psychological health during Covid-19 pandemic in Italy

      Center for Biotechnology, Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (Temple University) (2020-06-24)
      The worldwide spread of COVID-19 has upset the normality of Italian daily life, forcing population to social distancing and self-isolation. Since the containment precautions also concern sport-related activities, home workout remained the only possibility to play sports and stay active during the pandemic. The present study aimed to examine changes in the physical activity levels during self-quarantine in Italy, and the impact of exercise on psychological health. A total of 2974 Italian subjects has completed an online survey, but only 2524 subjects resulted eligible for this study. The questionnaire measured the total weekly physical activity energy expenditure before and during quarantine (i.e. the sum of walking, moderate-intensity physical activities, and vigorous-intensity physical activities) in Metabolic Equivalent Task minutes per week (MET–min/wk) using an adapted version of International Physical Activity Questionnaire and their psychological well-being using the Psychological General Well Being Index. Of the 2524 Italian subjects included in the study, 1426 were females (56.4%) and 1098 males (43.6%). Total physical activity significantly decreased between before and during COVID-19 pandemic (Mean: 2429 vs. 1577 MET–min/wk, ∗∗∗∗p < 0.0001), in all age groups and especially in men (Female, mean: 1994 vs. 1443 MET–min/wk, ∗∗∗∗p < 0.0001; Male, mean: 2998 vs. 1754 MET–min/wk, ∗∗∗∗p < 0.0001). Furthermore, a significant positive correlation was found between the variation of physical activity and mental well-being (r = 0.07541, ∗∗∗p = 0.0002), suggesting that the reduction of total physical activity had a profoundly negative impact on psychological health and well-being of population. Based on this scientific evidence, maintaining a regular exercise routine is a key strategy for physical and mental health during a forced rest period like the current coronavirus emergency.