NEWS Exercising more may reduce risk of severe COVID-19, study shows

Exercising more may reduce risk of severe COVID-19, study shows

Doctors have long said that exercise can reduce the risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death, but it has been unclear how much exercise is needed to see these effects. Is exercising once or twice a week enough, or do you need to be exercising every day to reduce your risk of severe COVID? A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine aimed to find out how varying amounts of exercise affected COVID outcomes in a large sample of patients.

The study, published Dec. 14, analyzed the health records of more than 194,000 adult patients at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between January 2020 and May 2021. Patients were asked to assess their own pre-infection physical activity and were divided into five subgroups based on their responses:

  • Always inactive: 10 minutes or less per week
  • Mostly inactive: 10 to 60 minutes per week
  • Some activity: 60 to 150 minutes of exercise per week
  • Constantly active: Exercising more than 150 minutes per week
  • Always stay active: 300 minutes of exercise per week

The researchers then examined the data to see how a patient’s activity level before infection affected COVID outcomes in each group.

They found that the more active a patient was before infection, the lower their risk of hospitalization or death within 90 days of being diagnosed with COVID. The numbers speak for themselves: In this study, patients who were always inactive were 191 percent more likely to be hospitalized and 391 percent more likely to die than those who were always active. What’s more, with each step down in activity scale, the risk of experiencing worse COVID outcomes increases. Compared with always active patients, slightly active patients were 143 percent more likely to be hospitalized and 192 percent more likely to die; persistently active patients were 125 percent and 155 percent more likely, respectively. The findings hold for all major population groups, including race, ethnicity, gender and age, the researchers said.

takeout? “[E]”Little physical activity counts,” study lead author Deborah Rohm Young, Ph.D., director of Kaiser Permanente’s Behavioral Research Division in the Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation, said in a press release. , age, gender or chronic disease. “

The link between more physical activity and fewer severe COVID outcomes is so strong, researchers argue that, besides getting vaccinated, there should be more emphasis on exercise as one of the most important things we can do to protect Protect yourself from severe COVID infection. (One thing to note: This study was done before the COVID vaccine was widely available, so it’s unclear whether people who got the vaccine would have this effect.)

“This is a powerful opportunity to develop stronger policies to support physical activity as a pandemic mitigation strategy,” Young said. “Our study provides new evidence for provide information on appropriate interventions.”

So you can add better COVID outcomes to the long list of health benefits you get from exercise, including boosting immunity, preventing heart disease, and even improving memory. Let all this motivate you to get more exercise this week.

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