Authors: Prof Samira Bulcão Carvalho Domingues*, Prof Flávia Porto** and Prof Jonas Lírio Gurgel***
*Master's Degree student, Exercise and Sports Sciences/Institute of Physical Education & Sports/UERJ
When faced with the COVID-19 global pandemic, a reduction in the numbers of people circulating is essential. It’s important to know there are differences between social distancing, isolation, quarantine and total lockdown, however, all of these strategies have one goal in common, which is to contain the speed at which the virus spreads and limit the collapse of health systems. In extended social distancing, those establishments considered to be non-essential are closed to avoid the gathering together of people, while in selective social distancing, people belonging to at-risk groups, especially the elderly, are encouraged to stay at home. In isolation, sick people (with suspected or confirmed disease) are separated from the non-sick, whether in a domestic or hospital environment. Quarantine is carried out by those people who have come into contact with or are suspected of having come into contact with the virus and, even if not presenting symptoms, they are isolated from others. When none of these measures work, a total lockdown is declared, like a community quarantine.
Although essential, staying at home involves a radical change in the habits of a population, which may harm health in some way. Within the context of epidemiological normality, work, academic and leisure activities require a variety of effort that, taken together, maintain the minimum level of daily physical activity necessary for health, especially for sedentary individuals. An immediate interruption of these activities has a negative impact on the cardiorespiratory and muscle systems, responsible for maintaining functional capacity. This, in turn, is directly related to quality of life and the development of comorbidities.
Similarly, and at the same time, physically active individuals are compelled to abruptly interrupt their exercise routines during this period. The damage caused by this halt in training includes losses in muscle strength and mass, aerobic capacity, and joint flexibility and mobility, in addition to alterations in body composition. The change from a physically active to sedentary life can affect important variables for health maintenance, including blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
It is therefore advisable to use countermeasure strategies to combat the disuse. One of these is the practice of exercise - known to be the best non-drug health promotion strategy. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has already taken a position on the importance of staying physically active during isolation. The weekly recommendation for asymptomatic individuals is 150 to 300 minutes of aerobic exercise, plus two strength training sessions. One could, for example, do 5 workouts a week of 30 to 60 minutes, adding muscle strengthening exercises to two of them. The intensity should be moderate, as very light stimuli may not promote benefits, while very high intensities are associated with impaired immunity.
Although many people doubt the feasibility and efficiency of home training, the literature shows that results similar to those obtained in traditional gyms can be achieved by using one's own bodyweight as a load. Routines can include exercises based on calisthenics, both in aerobic (stationary running, climbing stairs, jumping jacks) and strength (squats, push-ups, planks) training. Accessible materials can help: elastic bands, skipping ropes, and even household items to increase the workload (water bottles, backpacks with books, bags with groceries).
Training at home, although proven to be easy, affordable and efficient, can be difficult to adhere to on a larger scale. The motivational aspect is certainly one that can suffer, as a large part of the population is sedentary and is not in the habit of exercising; therefore, the absence of commitment to a time and place for training increases the chances of giving up. Another difficulty is in adjusting the intensity and volume of training, especially for individuals with low levels of physical fitness, which can lead to the occurrence of musculoskeletal injuries. Knowing how to do each exercise and how much is essential for the desired positive result, which highlights the importance of professional guidance, because the assumption that "doing anything is better than doing nothing" does not apply to training.
Tele-assistance is a reality that is already being used in the health area; and it should also be explored for the prescription of exercise. The options for interaction are varied and can serve the needs of diverse populations. From individual video calls to virtual group meetings, and guidance by messaging apps, the virtual presence of a professional can contribute to both an increase in the motivation of practitioners, and to ensuring that each individual receives the appropriate dose-response exercise.
From Space to COVID-19: what can we learn? We can learn that exercise remains a valid countermeasure to the effects of disuse (as proven by research involving astronauts onboard the International Space Station), that Telehealth can be used in different ways to make practice safer through professional guidance, and that obstacles to training can be similar, especially when there is a drastic change in routine, which alters people's mood.
At the present moment, when the home has become a fortress against the virus and the importance of having good health is latent, we hope the practice of guided physical activity at home can be recognised as a way to alleviate the adversities of this very difficult scenario in which the world finds itself.
Authors: Prof Samira Bulcão Carvalho Domingues*, Prof Flávia Porto** and Prof Jonas Lírio Gurgel***
*Master's Degree student, Exercise and Sports Sciences/Institute of Physical Education & Sports/UERJ
Diante da pandemia mundial de COVID-19, diminuir a circulação das pessoas é algo essencial. É importante saber que existe diferença entre distanciamento, isolamento social, quarentena e bloqueio total, porém, todas essas estratégias têm o objetivo comum de conter a velocidade de propagação do vírus e evitar o colapso dos sistemas de saúde. No distanciamento social ampliado, estabelecimentos considerados não essenciais são fechados para evitar aglomerações, enquanto que, no distanciamento social seletivo, pessoas pertencentes a grupos de risco, em especial, idosos, são estimuladas a ficar em casa. Já no isolamento, pessoas doentes (com suspeita ou confirmação da doença) são separadas das não doentes, seja em ambiente doméstico ou hospitalar. A quarentena é realizada por pessoas que tiveram contato ou suspeito de contato com o vírus e, mesmo não apresentando sintomas, ficam isoladas das demais. Quando nenhuma dessas medidas funciona, finalmente, é decretado o bloqueio total, como uma quarentena comunitária.
Apesar de imprescindível, a permanência em casa implica em uma mudança radical nos hábitos da população, o que pode prejudicar, de alguma forma, a saúde. Em um contexto de normalidade epidemiológica, atividades laborais, acadêmicas e de lazer solicitam esforços variados que, somados, mantêm o nível mínimo de atividade física diária necessário para a saúde, especialmente de indivíduos sedentários. A interrupção imediata dessas atividades impacta negativamente os sistemas cardiorrespiratório e muscular, responsáveis pela manutenção da capacidade funcional. Esta, por sua vez, está diretamente relacionada à qualidade de vida e ao desenvolvimento de comorbidades.
Da mesma maneira, no momento, indivíduos fisicamente ativos precisaram interromper bruscamente suas rotinas de exercícios neste período. Os prejuízos do destreinamento incluem perdas sobre força e massa musculares, capacidade aeróbia, flexibilidade e mobilidade articular, além de alterações na composição corporal. A mudança de uma vida fisicamente ativa para o sedentarismo pode impactar variáveis importantes para a manutenção da saúde, entre elas, pressão arterial, glicose sanguínea e taxas de colesterol.
Assim, é oportuno lançar mão de estratégias de contramedida ao desuso. Uma delas é a prática de exercícios - sabidamente a melhor estratégia não-medicamentosa de promoção da saúde. O Colégio Americano de Medicina Esportiva (ACSM) já se posicionou quanto à importância de se manter fisicamente ativo durante o isolamento. A recomendação semanal, para indivíduos assintomáticos, é de 150 a 300 minutos de exercícios aeróbios, além de duas sessões de treinamento de força. Pode-se, por exemplo, realizar 5 treinos semanais de 30 a 60 minutos e, em dois deles, acrescentar exercícios de fortalecimento muscular. A intensidade deve ser moderada, pois estímulos muito leves podem não promover benefícios, e intensidades muito altas estão associadas a prejuízos à imunidade.
Apesar de muitos ainda desconfiarem da viabilidade e eficiência dos treinos em casa, a literatura demonstra que se pode conseguir resultados semelhantes àqueles obtidos em academias tradicionais usando-se como carga o próprio peso corporal. As rotinas podem conter exercícios baseados na calistenia, tanto no treinamento aeróbio (corrida estacionária, subir escadas, polichinelos) quanto de força (agachamento, flexão, prancha). Materiais acessíveis podem auxiliar: faixas elásticas, cordas de pular, e até itens domiciliares para sobrecarga (garrafas de água, mochilas com livros, sacolas com mantimentos).
Embora comprovadamente fácil, acessível e eficiente, o treino em casa pode ter dificuldade de adesão em larga escala. O aspecto motivacional é, certamente, um deles, já que grande parte da população é sedentária e não tem na prática de exercícios um hábito; logo, a ausência do compromisso de horário e local aumenta as chances de desistência. Outra dificuldade está no ajuste da intensidade e volume do treino, especialmente para indivíduos com baixo nível de aptidão física, podendo levar à ocorrência de lesões musculoesqueléticas. Saber quanto e como fazer cada exercício é essencial para o resultado almejado, o que ressalta a importância da orientação profissional, pois a premissa “fazer qualquer coisa é melhor que fazer nada” não se aplica ao treinamento.
O teleatendimento é uma realidade que já vem sendo utilizada na área da saúde; e deve ser explorada, também, para a prescrição de exercícios. As opções de interação são variadas e podem atender a diversas populações. Desde chamada de vídeo individuais, reuniões virtuais em grupo, até orientações por aplicativos de mensagens, a presença virtual do profissional pode contribuir tanto para aumentar a motivação dos praticantes, como para garantir que cada público receberá a dose-resposta adequada de exercício.
From the Space to the COVID 19: what can we learn? Podemos aprender que o exercício continua sendo um válido método de contramedida aos efeitos do desuso (como comprovado por pesquisas realizadas por astronautas a bordo da Estação Espacial Internacional), que a telessaúde pode ser usada de diferentes formas a fim de tornar a prática mais segura através de orientação profissional, que os obstáculos à realização dos treinamentos podem ser similares sobretudo pela mudança drástica da rotina, que altera o humor das pessoas.
Neste momento em que a casa se tornou uma fortaleza contra o vírus e que a importância de se ter uma boa saúde é latente, esperamos que a prática de atividade física domiciliar orientada possa ser reconhecida como forma de amenizar as adversidades deste cenário tão difícil.
Mindfulness is a relatively recent subject area in the field of mental health and scientific study. So, what defines Mindfulness? It is the name given to the mind's ability to pay attention to its own functioning, also being the name given to techniques that enable improvement in this capacity, resulting in better management of cognitive and emotional content. In a way, it is possible to say that Mindfulness enables a better interface between the person and their present experience. In this context, Mindfulness may have much to contribute to the world in which we now find ourselves – in quarantine, social isolation, confinement and plunged into uncertainty.
In addition to contemporary techniques, or rather, prior to current techniques and paradigms, a great source of knowledge for Mindfulness can be found in the contemplative practices of the Buddhist tradition, among others. This intersection is still a sensitive topic today, partly due to the way science harnesses this knowledge from cultures that seem so distant from our modern world.
Nonetheless, studies "prove" that many of these traditional practices are associated with great benefits. More than an apology for traditional means, or a comparison between the traditional and scientific, we seek here to find inspiration in this broad and varied tradition – Buddhism - (which, incidentally, has countless developments and different techniques originating from the various countries to which it was taken). Therefore, it seems worthwhile to remember two important aspects emphasised in the Buddhist tradition: Renunciation - giving up the excess of stimuli that leads to confusion; and Retreat - which is the practice of renunciation taken to the next level. Withdrawing means choosing to live in a restricted social environment and to have fewer activities in order to cultivate greater attention and have a larger commitment to practices that, scientifically, can be classified as Mindfulness.
The reason for this is simple: if we have fewer factors disturbing our mind, we can observe the mind itself more efficiently. Similarly, to playing a sport or using a tool, the more time we dedicate to it with as little distraction as possible, the better the results are, thus, when focused on knowing our mind we tend to progress in learning about our cognitive and emotional processes.
One of the most important factors determining quality and progress in Mindfulness is the teacher and the instructions received. Therefore, it is essential to choose well. In my case, as the author of this text and an instructor in Mindfulness, I undertook my training with professors Tamara Russell and Tiago Tatton. As an admirer of Buddhism, I visit two centres near my hometown of Porto Alegre, one a traditional Tibetan Buddhist temple called Chagdud Gonpa, and the other a CEBB Bodhisattva Center for Buddhist Studies - which gave me my first contact with the subject. I leave these references here that I had and have, because it is thanks to them that I achieved any benefit.
Returning to the present moment, the world has been forced to stop and reflect. Unlike a voluntary retreat, no one has chosen to be in this situation, yet this is the circumstance that presents itself: a great challenge from a cognitive and emotional viewpoint. We are living in a time of uncertainty about the future and our ability to remain calm and pay attention to our actions is crucial in this dynamic context. Perhaps, in this way, we will have conditions - albeit somewhat troubled - for the practice of Mindfulness, which can bring immense benefits at this time, such as greater tranquillity and concentration. After all, regardless of the situation we face, our contact with reality takes place through the mind, and this can be worked on in order to reduce suffering and make better decisions.
As for specific techniques, there is an infinity and each person will connect more with one than the other - the most classic being the focus on breathing and maintaining the body relaxed in an upright posture. However, nothing replaces the help and guidance a teacher can provide, whether in a secular or traditional context. Therefore, the need to choose a reliable teacher and to not become discouraged in practice is once again highlighted. Because, just like someone who learns a sport or starts playing an instrument, we may feel some discomfort or be out of tune at first, but that is part of learning. A teacher can direct us to more efficient ways to learn and minimise mistakes.
One can only imagine the possibilities generated by the practice of Mindfulness in space, having one less important stimulus - gravity. It is interesting to think what postures and techniques would be possible. This is a field that still needs study and research. But I think it can be assumed that, just as on Earth, the practice of Mindfulness can help in the well-being and concentration of socially isolated individuals floating in a dynamic environment.
May this text contribute to helping reduce the suffering and confusion in which we live. This transitional phase brings chaos and crisis, but it can also bring knowledge.
Nikolaos Divinis BEng (Hons), MSc, PhD
Aerospace Engineer, Founder of EN School of Unity,
The ‘’black hole’’ is really one of the most mysterious celestial objects. Some people, indeed, claim that the laws of physics do not exist in its interior.
A ‘’black hole’’ is that point in space where the core of a gigantic star used to be.
It is a sphere of matter and not a material vacuum. Whatever ‘’falls’’ inside it ‘’gets lost’’ from the universe, because gravity here is so strong that even the light cannot escape from its tractive force. So, the term ‘’black hole’’ is used in this sense. ‘’Hole’’, because an object like this absorbs like a ‘’spacial whirlpool’’ anything that crosses its path, and ‘’black’’, because not even the light can escape from its ‘’surface’’ so as to be recorded by our eyes or by the various sensitive instruments of our observatories. It is a ‘’star’’ which has collapsed into an infinitesimally tiny size, leaving behind only the intensity of its gravity.
Human beings need to go through a black hole in order to return to the original organism. Humans need to become healthy in order to ‘’rise’’. Not even the light can go through, as it does not express the complete sense of light that is diffused in the Universe, but it is only expressed as photon. A state of light of inferior quality.
The black hole represents both symbolically and literally the condition which isolates our Universe, our galaxy from the sound concepts of the Universe. It is also, both in symbolic and literal terms, the gate through which someone can go to that side.
To go through this gate, someone should understand the concept of love, which is the only concept that can be expressed to the full extent in our world, in modern civilisation, because it is the sole compass/lodestar that will lead us to the bliss of our existence as we take pleasure in the gift of this life, and later of the next.
Excerpt From a book by Nikolaos Divinis. “Humans, A conceptual approach to existence.” Daidaleos Publications, iBooks, Amazon
Nikolaos Divinis BEng(Hons), MSc, PhD
Aerospace Engineer, Founder of EN School of Unity,
The Big Bang has thus far been the prevailing cosmogonic theory, according to which, the Universe was created by an excessively dense and hot state, approximately 13.8 billion years ago. According to science, time and space did not exist before the Big Bang.
Only the cosmic core existed, that original seed of limitless dimensions, which enclosed the germ of a whole universe. Everything started with the ''Big Bang''. Time zero is the moment of explosion, from which everything originates. In a storm of creation, subatomic particles collide with each other and are ejected. Photons change into matter, matter changes into energy, energy changes into matter. Every material particle we see around us originates from that first millisecond. And reaching today, when the visible Universe contains approximately 3 to 7x1022 stars, which are organised in approximately 8x1010 galaxies.
The reason behind the Big Bang
The objective of every element of the Universe is to express its superessential state. This can be reached only by experiencing to the fullest the unity with itself and with the other elements that are widespread in the universe. A human being who has reached this state is free from everything, with no pettiness, having no problems with fellow humans, is healthy and has all that is needed to lead their life, is blessed, which means imperishable, steadfast, immune and irreproachable. Can a human being experience unity during their life? The answer is yes, because it is something contained within, but it has simply been forgotten. It was acquired and then was lost. The heart leads towards that way, but the will is not strong enough to oppose the prescripts of human society. All it would take is the will and the way to unity would be paved. Here on Earth humans are experiencing the loss of unity and at this space-time moment, the universe is their guide. ALL the conditions of our life are synchronized with this in mind.
Everything started with the Big Bang. Scientists believe this was the beginning, but I would say, this was the end. The end of unity. And as the years go by, the elements increasingly move away from each other (the universe constantly expanding), in the same way human souls are moving away from the Source and from each other.
Science is led to conclusions through the experiment and observation, by means of analysis and not of synthesis. It interprets the findings through the limitations of the mind and through doubt, and not through the certainty that there is a wise cooperation behind everything.
Fabrício Edler Macagnan PhD
Assistant Professor, Dept of Physical Therapy, Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Sciences
Can technology really be seen as something unnatural?
Or is it plausible to assume that all the evolutionary processes developed on our planet have been truly responsible for our ability to promote evolution (transformation) in a fully conscious and directed manner?
Well, if this is true, then we can say that “all technology is eminently a natural manifestation of the evolutionary process.”
In the ongoing developmental process, how many different random combinations were needed to enable the evolution of simple inorganic compounds into extremely complex living organisms, capable of interpreting, acting and reacting to environmental events? In the animal kingdom, we find numerous individual and collective actions that occur to ensure the preservation of species. Each of these strategies have been tested for efficiency by the process of natural selection, and from this perspective it can be said that the validation of a viable adaptation represents a natural manifestation of biotechnological development.
These acts of biotechnological development range from behavioural patterns that are beneficial for preservation of the most adapted genes and, consequently, more prone to reproductive success, through to defence techniques using chemical substances capable of triggering complex and fatal metabolic reactions in opponents (to this day, the pharmaceutical industry maintain strong interest in these biotechnologies). There are numerous evolutionary strategies that could be described, but in short, each of these adaptations (strategies) could be framed under the concept of technology, as technology involves the systematic study of techniques, processes, methods, means and instruments that are used to achieve a determined goal.
The great difference between the processes occurring at the beginning of species evolution and those that now occur is really the most remarkable fact of all development – the ability to become aware of certain processes of existence (life). Whenever I stop to think about it, I’m extremely curious to know at what point in evolution did the ability emerge of being able to connect information from different body movement receptors (sensors) in a sufficiently organised way to permit repetition (from a sequence of carefully and efficiently stored historical events) of the intensity, direction, and reaction of forces acting on moving bodies to the point of making interpretation and reaction intentionally directed for one's own benefit. This intricate capacity for historical analysis has enabled numerous evolutionary advances in species, which have since developed techniques for collecting, hunting, fighting and defending, whether individually or collectively, with such efficiency that survival in ensured, even in the face of drastic environmental transformations.
Even more noticeable has been the developments in language and writing, a crucial step for storing and sharing huge volumes of information, which has accelerated the creation of useful techniques for dealing with questions involving mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, etc. Moreover, even after conquering land, sea and sky, all known sciences have undeniably been heavily affected by the computational advances in data processing and sharing (internet).
Humankind has greatly enlarged knowledge of many natural events and even ventured into Space, but without a doubt, something that is truly spectacular is the surprising discovery of the nano-microscopic features that enable us to edit (manipulate) portions of our genetic library, a place where information has been perpetuated over eons. Future prospects for the use of gene editing in the scientific scenario remains unclear, but the possibility of acting intentionally at a molecular level may effectively contribute to a reduction in the need to treat disease and guarantee a new step in the evolutionary scale, in which our focus shifts to the promotion of health improvement and living conditions.
For a long time the natural selection of best strategies has been restricted to the field of spontaneous randomness, but we have now developed rigorously designed laboratory assessments to test hypotheses, which are validated through a specific set of statistical rules that increasingly allow us to project the future probability of success or failure of a given action. With new computational advances (Internet of Things and quantum processors) we will further accelerate the progress of technological development. There is, however, no point in so much technology if we maintain prehistoric attitudes that dominate behavioural rules. For example, greed, which was once so necessary for survival, is one such behaviour that, in my view, should have long since fallen into disuse, together with violence and war. An existence of peace and harmony is more than feasible. We have a huge arsenal of knowledge to ensure a much healthier future for all living beings on our planet - we just need to want it enough! I sincerely hope we have the wisdom needed to make good ethical and legal choices that lead us along a successful path for all.