There’s reason to believe that people who were physically active before getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 would have better health outcomes than those who were not.
A new study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine has shed light on how exercise could impact the severity of COVID-19 once infected with the virus.
“Physical activity before COVID-19 infection is associated with less severe outcomes,” the researchers said in their study that examined data from adult patients who had tested positive between Jan. 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021.
After analyzing data from 194,191 participating adults with COVID-19 infection, the researchers found that those who regularly engaged in physical activity before their bout with the virus had lower odds of hospitalization, deterioration and death. The results were notably consistent across sex, race, age, ethnicity and BMI categories.
The findings suggested that COVID-19 would be more deadly for obese and overweight people with little to no physical activity. The California-based research team indicated that “almost any amount” of exercise proved to be beneficial.
However, many people gave up exercise when they got stuck in their homes amid the lockdowns imposed by the governments, especially during the early days of the pandemic, the Washington Examiner pointed out.
State and local governments shut down gyms and halted recreational sports leagues and school sports. Several cities also closed playgrounds and parks during the pandemic. But there has yet to be a study on how these restrictions possibly led to lower physical activity.
In light of the new findings, the researchers encouraged the government and public health authorities to include exercise in their strategies to counter the coronavirus amid the ongoing pandemic.
“There were protective associations of physical activity for adverse COVID-19 out- comes across demographic and clinical characteristics. Public health leaders should add physical activity to pandemic control strategies,” the team concluded their study.
“Adults, regardless of demographic category or chronic disease status, should be encouraged to reduce their physical inactivity as another COVID-19 mitigation strategy,” they added.