Exercise as medicine to prevent diseases

It is known that exercise helps treat obesity, a growing health problem in the country that triggers other diseases -diabetes and hypertension, for example- and one of the main factors that exacerbate the symptoms of COVID-19. However, there is controversy regarding the proper routine to practice, sometimes it is not appropriate and causes excessive wear on the first day, even at the joint level, which demotivates people.

An interdisciplinary team from BUAP, led by Dr. Erick Landeros Olvera, a researcher at the School of Nursing, proposed a dose of cardiovascular aerobic exercise to regulate the concentrations of hormones secreted in adipose tissue, adiponectin and tumor factor-alpha, involved in the development of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Landeros Olvera, who received the 2022 “María Guadalupe Cerisola Salcido” Nursing Merit Recognition by the General Health Council, explained that this dose of exercise is gradual and progressive for overweight and obese people; It is done on treadmills and on a cycle ergometer, the latter for those with knee problems. Similarly, this routine can be transferred to park settings and public tracks as a measure to improve health and the immune system.

The dose lasts for 10 weeks, with five times a week. Start with 20 minutes and after the seventh week 40 minutes of effective exercise. It has been tested with women, adolescents and older adults, with their respective modifications.

During physical activity, the reserve heart rate was calculated, according to age, to achieve beats that indicate physical effort. “They start at 117-130 beats per minute in the first weeks and end with 175-180 beats per minute,” explained the academic, who mentions that the effort can also be measured with a qualitative scale when you do not have a cycle ergometer or a heart rate monitor , because outdoor exercise is being considered.

To know their exact weight, in the Cardiovascular Exercise Laboratory, the percentage of fat, muscle and water in their body was previously measured in the participants, regardless of their complexion, with the help of a bioelectrical impedance scale.

Likewise, waist circumference measurements were taken and clinical analyzes were performed to determine their concentration of triglycerides, insulin, glucose, adiponectin and tumor factor alpha, measures indicative of fat accumulation.

Erick Landeros Olvera, PhD in Nursing Sciences from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, highlighted that the results obtained were positive. “At the end of the exercise dose, the measurement was performed again and the arithmetic averages were compared. In this way, we know if the changes are significant. These have been real, seen in clinical trials, and have had an effect on the study subjects.”

“We have had patients lose 16 or 17 kilos. Each organism reacts differently to the dose of exercise. Therefore, routine and calculated physical effort can be used as a tool for cardiovascular and antidiabetic protection, situations that must be reinforced, given that chronic diseases increase mortality from COVID-19.”

The research team is made up of doctors, a physical rehabilitator, a nutritionist and nursing professionals from the faculties of Medicine and Nursing, as well as from the Physiology Institute of the BUAP, in order to take care of various aspects.

A strategy against the pandemic

According to the 2018 National Health and Nutrition Survey, obesity in Mexico decreased in adolescents, but increased in adults, mainly in women. Nationally, the population of adults over 20 years of age with overweight and obesity reached 75.2 percent, while in 2012 it was 71.3 percent. This situation has been seen as a disadvantage in the face of the pandemic, since people with obesity are more likely to die.

Due to this situation and many others, exercise is one of the strategies against the current situation. Dr. Erick Landeros Olvera, a member of the “Interventions for Health Care” Academic Body, reported that adipose tissue secretes different hormones, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha and adiponectin. The latter is antidiabetic and cardioprotective, so people with low concentrations are more prone to acute myocardial infarction or diabetes.

The researcher from the Faculty of Nursing insisted on the importance of having a healthy diet and exercising, since this affects the body, promotes positive emotions, improves mood and strengthens the immune system.

“Although this work is carried out in the Cardiovascular Exercise Laboratory, the same dose of exercise will be sought in parks and public tracks, respecting a healthy distance and constant hand washing, since exercise is a lifestyle that represents a way to fight the pandemic.

Photo: Freepik and BUAP

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