Regular physical activity reduces risk of severe COVID-19 — study

Published April 15, 2021, 12:21 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

Regular physical activity will help lessen the severity of symptoms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to a new study.


A study by the Kaiser Permanente, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that those who achieved at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity —  a target of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ physical activity guidelines– were less likely to be hospitalized and be admitted to intensive care unit.

The researchers have looked into nearly 50,000 adults diagnosed with COVID-19.

The guidelines are based on research supporting the ability of physical activity to boost immune function, reduce systemic inflammation, increase pulmonary and cardiovascular health, and improve mental health, according to a report from CNN.

It added that acute COVID-19 illness is just one of the many potential negative impacts of sedentary behavior, a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke and some cancers.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk factors for severe COVID-19 include being of advanced age, being male, and having underlying comorbidities, such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

“There are no data regarding the effect of regular physical activity (PA) on COVID-19 outcomes, even though a lack of PA is a well-documented underlying risk factor for multiple chronic diseases, including those associated with severe COVID-19,” the study stated.

It added that regular physical activity reduces the risk of systemic inflammation, which is a main contributor to lung damage caused by COVID-19.

The researchers concluded that physical inactivity is linked to more severe COVID infection and a heightened risk of dying from the disease.

An individual needs to exercise at least 22 minutes a day to complete the 150-minute exercise threshold over a week, CNN reported.

This may just be taking regular walks, practicing short spurts of activity, proper workout, and playing a sport.