In the update report No. 230 on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) released by the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies on October 16, 2020, encouraging data was published for the sports sector, as they reinforce the message that taking all the appropriate precautionary measures, physical-sports practice seems safe.
In sports activities, 24 accumulated outbreaks have been reported, that is, 0.90% of outbreaks in the social sphere and 0.28% of the total (8,488 outbreaks). This percentage decreases if one analyzes according to the cases, 179 in sports activities, which on the social sphere represents 0.83% and on the total 0.22%.
The concept of ‘sports activities’ in this report does not clarify which subsectors it includes (institutionalized competition, school sports, social sports recreation, fitness, active tourism, etc.) or if these activities are carried out in a facility, in an organization, with supervision, etc. . The breadth and transversality of sport means that these figures need to be shelled so that politicians can make the most appropriate decisions when implementing measures in one or other sporting activities. For example, have the outbreaks reported in professional sports been included in the section on sports activities, the social sphere, or within any of the items in the workplace?
Now, having only these data, in Spain sports activities do not represent a significant risk of contagion, so a priori it seems that contingency plans and anti-covid protocols in the sector are proving effective.
On the other hand, science is also illustrating the ability of physical exercise to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The relationship between physical-sports practice and its positive influence on the immune system is known. Therefore, in regards to the prevention of this specific virus, it was the first thing that was promoted (Simpson and Katsanis, 2020). In addition, different chronic pathological conditions, whose prevention and prognosis have been shown to improve with physical exercise (Booth, Roberts and Laye, 2012; Pedersen and Saltin, 2015), seem to have a higher risk of complications in the case of falling ill with COVID-19 .
In addition to the above, a study published this October in the prestigious journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings points out that “Maximum exercise capacity is independently and inversely associated with the probability of hospitalization for COVID-19. These data further support the important relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and health outcomes ”(Brawner et al., 2020). Therefore, as Codella et al. (2020) point out, the immunomodulatory effects of exercise should be used favorably against COVID-19.
For people who have overcome COVID-19, research is beginning to suggest that their cardiopulmonary function may have been affected somewhat, even in those not hospitalized. For this reason, researchers specializing in Sports Sciences Heffernan, Ranadive and Jae (2020) point out that exercise can be a coadjuvant tool to pharmacological treatments due to its effects on the PPARα cell receptor and vascular endothelial function.
All of the above suggests that the Public Administration should promote physical-sports practice in safe environments (Denay et al. 2020). In the first place, because it is beneficial for the health of the population and, secondly, because in Spain it has just been shown that its associated activities provide a very low percentage of infections (CCAES, 10/16/2020). In physical education, physical activity and sports, professionals are implementing all possible measures to minimize the risks of contagion (safety distance, masks, adaptation of activities and intensities, hygiene measures, etc.).
The COLEF Council is also promoting a preventive culture among physical sports educators with different actions: guide for a safe PE, webinar and dossier on the use of a mask, statement on the assessment of physical condition and the return to physical-sporting practice in times of COVID-19, webinar on ‘Physical exercise and COVID-19’ and a multitude of information on state agreements and regulations.
In this context, physical sports educators, collegiate professionals with a university degree in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, will continue to promote safe and quality services, demonstrating every day the value of their professional intervention, also in the fight against the current pandemic, under deontological principles and professional responsibility.
(Source: COLEF, https://www.consejo-colef.es/post/covid19-potencial-ejercicio-fisico?fbclid=IwAR1UuMzZE3ZBRmlUtF5W0NlKf92AMagY84zDK1H7rsNdkC38i6qEeVdY2WA)