The first victim of self-isolation is muscles
A week spent at home, regardless of the type of activity, has every chance of being considered comfortable and convenient, says CNN. Even if a person continues to work remotely, he still seriously reduces physical activity. Such inactivity can negate hard-won muscle-building progress.
Experts believe it can take months to build muscle mass, and just one week to lose muscle mass. “Humans, for all our stamina, lose muscle faster with age,” says Keith Baar, professor of molecular exercise physiology at the University of California.
When a person loses muscle, they do not necessarily lose muscle volume, but they inevitably lose strength, which, according to Baar, is one of the “strongest indicators” of propensity for longevity. “The stronger we stay, the easier it is for us to maintain our longevity,” the scientist is sure.
The heart suffers in captivity
Keith Baar noted another risk of stopping training. “If you don’t exercise, you don’t raise your heart rate. And when the heart is not beating so hard, it weakens, ”said Baar.
With Baar’s opinion, according to CNN, Dr. Panagis Galiazatos, a pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, agrees. He stresses the dangers of stopping sports for the lungs. Galiazatos said many of his patients felt their respiratory function was deteriorating because they were no longer exercising.
People who have lung problems are considered more susceptible to coronavirus because it is a respiratory illness. They often stay at home to reduce their risk of infection. But if they don’t move and increase blood flow to their lungs, it could harm them anyway.
“Exercise is the only key to improving heart and lung function: no medicine can do it,” Galiazatos said. Keith Baar offers people his recipe for avoiding such problems when they cannot leave the house. He recommends dancing or finding tools for home strength training – for example, a kettle of water can be used as a kettlebell.
Fat is self-isolation’s best friend
A person who is forced to spend a lot of time at home gets a dangerous neighbor – his own refrigerator. In a situation where there is no clear meal schedule, people begin to constantly replenish themselves, which with a high probability can lead to a set of fat mass.
With self-isolation, the amount of time you eat most of your food can vary. If, under normal conditions, a person is inclined to take the most high-calorie food from 10 to 15 hours, then in conditions of constant stay at home this interval shifts to the afternoon. This can lead to a spike in insulin levels. Insulin stimulates fat storage and the conversion of other molecules into fat, said Giles Duffield, professor of anatomy and physiology at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
“At the start of the pandemic, many people were stocking up on non-perishable food in case of supply disruptions,” says Duffield. Such foods are usually rich in sugar and starch, the scientist reminds.
“Weight gain during periods of intense stress is normal. However, weight gain becomes dangerous when it turns into obesity. In such a situation, the body can begin to resist insulin and chronic health problems such as metabolic disease or diabetes can develop, ”Duffield said.
Staying at home, people spend more and more time at the computer, regardless of whether they are working or relaxing. While working at a computer, a person takes a sitting position: leaning forward, shoulders are hunched, the spine is bent, the neck is bent and the elbows are raised.
Constant sitting and lying throughout the day can seriously affect your posture and strain your back, neck, shoulders, hips and eyes, said Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist and professor at UCLA.
Brown gives advice on how to avoid such problems: you need to get up from your seat once an hour, walk and stretch. Sometimes you should even lie on the floor and “let your back recover,” the scientist emphasized.
The sleep deprivation paradox
Being in self-isolation, a person is almost completely deprived of sunlight. Many people spend whole days with the curtains closed, while working whenever they want. In this case, human sleep inevitably suffers.
“Getting enough sunlight in the morning helps to synchronize your body’s circadian rhythm,” said Giles Duffield. “So if you’re locked up or working in the dark all week, your sleep may suffer too.”
In addition, not only the quality of sleep, but also the amount of sleep may be affected. At home, a person may have the false feeling that they can get enough sleep whenever they want, but activities or entertainment can constantly distract him from sleep. In such a situation, a paradox is created – a person is constantly next to the bed and does not get enough sleep.
Slowing down the brain
A sedentary lifestyle can also slow down the brain. The fact is that exercise produces certain chemicals in the brain that break down toxins in the blood and even prevent them from entering the brain, where they can kill brain cells, says Baar.
Lack of exercise means that a person will not be as effective at breaking down amino acid by-products that build up in the brain, such as neurotoxins.
The effects of isolation are insidious – they can be subtle until they reach an extreme stage. However, these symptoms can be prevented before they appear.
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