Home LIFESTYLE Regular exercise appears to reduce severe, long-term COVID-19 risks, study says

Regular exercise appears to reduce severe, long-term COVID-19 risks, study says

People work out at Boulevard Fitness in the University Heights neighborhood on Thursday, July 16, 2020 in San Diego. (Sam Hodgson/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

Jessica Schladebeck
New York Daily News

Those who keep active and work a basic amount of exercise into their daily routine face fewer COVID-19 risks and symptoms than those who are generally more sedentary, according to a new study examining coronavirus hospitalizations and patients’ activity levels.

Researchers and physicians at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, the University of California, and San Diego looked at nearly 50,000 adults diagnosed with the fast-spreading illness and compared their exercise routines with how sick they became. They concluded those who achieved at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity — a goal target for adult Americans determined by U.S. Health and Human Services — were significantly less likely to land in the hospital and the intensive care unit.

On the other hand, patients who neglected their daily activities faced an increased chance of severe symptoms and death caused by COVID-19, according to the study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine on Tuesday.

The research additionally reflected details about each person’s known risk factors for severe coronavirus, including their age, smoking habits, weight and history of things like cancer, diabetes, organ transplants, kidney issues and other serious, underlying conditions.

The World Health Organization guidelines for being active, used by many other nations, mirror those used in the United States. It’s no secret those who are aerobically fit tend to be generally more healthy and, in turn, are significantly less likely to catch colds and other viral infections. They also tend to recover at a quicker rate, primarily because exercise speeds up antibody responses to vaccines.

While much has remained unknown about COVID-19 since it first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019, this study shows it is likely similarly impacted by regular movement and activity.

Researchers and experts also stressed the study does not suggest exercise can take the place of a COVID-19 vaccine and encouraged those with the opportunity to get the shot to do so — regardless of their activity level.

To achieve the target recommended by Health and Human Services, a person needs to exercise about 22 minutes a day.


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