Coaching, mental health and privilege in sports: the issues being debated post-pandemic in Mexico

September is usually a good month for the gym sector, in which they register new clients and welcome back those who stopped exercising during the summer. This is not the case in this 2020 marked by the coronavirus pandemic, which has reduced enrollment in a course marked by uncertainty. EFE/José Pazos/File (José Pazos/)

the pandemic of COVID-19 it has placed a great demand on public health systems around the world and has revealed the deficiencies of care in terms of population health. And, although everything seemed negative, this situation also opened a genuine interest on the part of people in prioritizing public health individually and collectively.

In recent years, a global debate on health has begun, as well as a broad questioning of the measures taken by governments regarding access to physical activity. Mexico was no exception, since, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the population “Physically active people who do sport or physical exercise increased from 11.2% in 2020 to 21.8% in 2021 within public facilities or private places.”

Under this tenor, Infobae Mexico had the opportunity to talk to him Dr Kent Bradley, US public policy expert; the Dr Dana Ryan, specialist in special nutrition of high-performance athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo and the team of LA Galaxy; Besides the Dr. Rocío Medina, nutrition specialist specializing in obesity prevention in Mexico.

Karina Hernandez
Vaccination against Covid-19 in the Cuauhtémoc Mayor’s Office for the population between 50 and 50 years of age at the Benito Juárez Elementary School, in the observation area, possible side effects that may occur are monitored, while helping people to perform physical activity. Mexico City, May 11, 2021. Photo: Karina Hernández/Infobae

In a meeting prior to the start of the event made by Herbalife Extravaganza 2022 in the National Auditorium, these characters expressed their points of view, regarding some public health measures that could be replicated in Mexico, the use of coaching by the new digital generations or the existing relationship between mental health or privileges to be able to play sports.

In the first instance, it should be understood that, according to Kent Bradley -graduated from the Master of Public Health at the University of Minnesota-, “The principles of public health are universal and complement each other between the individual and the collective”.

According to the expert, there are some strategies that the authorities of each region could implement to contribute to the creation of a healthier community.

Among some of them are:

– Provide a safe and healthy environment to be able to do some physical activity

– Promote healthy lifestyles

– Create alliances and greater diffusion

– Conduct scientific research

– Community mobilization for action

health specialist
Photo: JM Mariscal/Infobae Mexico

The road to a sport culture

The implementation of public policies in favor of a healthier life is not something strange in Mexicans, it is enough to remember the campaign Check yourself, measure yourself, move implemented by the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) in 2013 that sought to prevent obesity and overweight in the population. The three first fruits of this strategy were intended to be medically monitored, eat healthy and be physically active.

But the government’s impulses to stop sedentary lifestyle did not stop there, because in 2017 the National Physical Activation Strategy was implemented Move on, which had as its objective “to develop physical culture among the general population through the massification of Physical Activation”.

That is why for Dr. Rocío Medina, who is a doctor graduated from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, she highlighted for this medium that “sport is replicable” in all its aspects and that this participation is largely promoted by civil society. .

health specialist
Photo: JM Mariscal/Infobae Mexico

“These sports have been for the interest of young people […] I see a more active youth that has emerged from society towards the government”. In addition to this situation, the obesity prevention specialist in Mexico called on local, state and government governments to promote a culture of sports at all levels.

From confinement to the “New Normality”

On February 28, 2020, what seemed distant for many Mexicans began to happen, as the first case of COVID-19 in the country was confirmed. Thus, although at that time it seemed a not so relevant fact, it was only the beginning of more than two years of implementation of extraordinary measures to preserve the lives of the compatriots.

For March 23, 2020, the National Healthy Distance Day began, which promoted social distancing measures to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. From that moment on, part of the population confined themselves to their homes and began to go out only for essential issues.

In this sense, sport also underwent changes, since gyms and sports centers closed their doors for long periods.

Already with the progressive reopening of the activities that has been carried out during the last year and a half, some Mexicans have left their homes again to exercise in public or private places, but others have put aside this culture of sport, for others structural factors that have come to light.

health specialist
Photo: JM Mariscal/Infobae Mexico

The Dr. Rocío Medina Master in Nutrition and Obesity added that one of the reasons why people do not play sports is due to the lack of spaces and the opacity of the authorities.

“We are dealing with an issue where insecurity prevails throughout society, just going for a walk is no longer so simple, due to fear, pollution, really governments must provide us with safe and adequate areas to carry out a physical activity that it may not necessarily be high-cost,” he said.

For her part, Dana Ryan, a nutrition expert, pointed out that the health contingency due to COVID-19 also brought consequences for the mental health of the population, which can also influence the form and intensity of being physically active.

“After the pandemic we have seen an increase in depression and anxiety, the most important thing has become mental health, so it is important to know who you follow, because many times you ask yourself ‘I am enough, I have the right body this type of questioning can cause a lot of damage without a professional,” he said.

To conclude, Rocío Medina remarked that “‘Exercise saves us’ from physical health problems, chronic and metabolic diseases, stress, addictions, obesity”

health specialist
Photo: JM Mariscal/Infobae Mexico

Exercise: a form of self-gratitude but at the same time of privilege

Mexico ranks fifth in obesity in the world, according to the latest report from the World Obesity Federation and it is estimated that the figure will increase by 35 million adults for the next decade. However, beyond falling into blaming individuals, dana ryan He reflected that the problem of obesity in the country should be considered as a structural problem.

“Sport for many people is a privilege” pointed out forcefully and added: “Exercising and moving the body is something we should be, but it is a reality that not everyone can, sometimes some think that to exercise you can do with what we have in hand and It starts with very simple things, like going down the stairs, walking, running.”

The specialist, who worked with Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo, commented that being an athlete is a lifestyle that must be implemented in multiple aspects of daily life. He also noted that small changes in habits can have a broad health benefit.

“Being an athlete is a lifestyle, it’s not just about what you do at work, it’s about the decisions you make all day, you don’t necessarily have to be a high-performance athlete, but you can be inspired by your routines , his diet, so it can be adapted to the life of an ordinary person, as this can help in his training and his life”, he stated.

health specialist
Photo: JM Mariscal/Infobae Mexico

Is coaching good or bad?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, certain digital platforms such as TikTok They became part of people’s daily lives. And with them he began a debate on practices known as coaching.

According to Dr. Kent Bradley the role of a coach is to be an encourager so that people can achieve their goals.

“In the United States, look at the impact that the coachinghas encouraged people to fulfill their purposes, the most important thing is that someone is consistently present with you, we call them health care”, he mentioned.

However, the also retired from the American Armed Forces stressed that care must be taken with influencers or people who are not adequately trained to carry out this type of practice, as it could carry a risk.

“The Internet is a two-edged sword, much of the information is not updated or accurate, so coaching must be given by people who are specialists, it is not for everyone because it is very serious, because if someone trusts you and you are not prepared and you give advice, instead of benefiting you are going to harm, “he concluded.


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