regular physical activity It may help protect you from severe COVID-19 — and can keep you from getting infected, according to research review Posted on August 22 in British Journal of Sports Medicine.
“It’s time to consider exercise as medicine,” says co-author Yasmine Izzatfar, a naturopathic doctor and nursing instructor at Spain’s University of Valencia. “This is yet another piece of evidence to really confirm that.”
The researchers analyzed 16 previously published studies that looked at associations between physical activity and COVID-19 outcomes. These studies included more than 1.8 million adults in total, and most relied on participants self-reporting of their exercise habits. Most studies were conducted in 2020 and early 2021, before COVID-19 vaccines became widely available.
Compared to people who didn’t exercise as much, active people were 36% less likely to be hospitalized and 43% less likely to die if they contracted the virus. People who did at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous movement per week—The amount recommended by US public health officialsThe researchers found that the best protection.
In some ways, this finding is obvious. Exercising constantly Associated with good health and longevitycan help Preventing or managing chronic conditions that put people at risk of developing complications from COVID-19, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Even more surprising, the active people were 11% less likely to get infections compared to the more active people, the researchers concluded – suggesting that The exercise itself may be protective.
“Regular physical activity can contribute to a more effective immune response,” Izzatfar says. It can provide enhanced immunity to [many] Infection, not just COVID.”
The paper does not provide evidence that exercise causes these effects – only that it is associated with better outcomes for COVID-19. There could be other explanations for trends, such as differences in lifestyle, exposure to viruses, and socioeconomic status among active and sedentary people. Most of the included studies were also published long before Omicron took control and when most people were not vaccinated, so it is difficult to generalize the results to the present.
Another possible caveat: If you exercise alongside someone who already has COVID-19, your exercise routine may not protect you from getting sick. small study The post in May found that someone doing high-intensity exercise emits about 132 times as many mists per minute as they do at rest — bad news if your neighbor on the treadmill has the virus.
However, exercise is “100%” recommended for most people, Azttoar says. “It’s good for your health – not just for COVID [protection]but also your mental health and your physical health.”
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