This study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Researchers and physicians from Kaiser Permanente Southern California, University of California, San Diego, and other institutions decided to compare information about how often people who have exercised and still wound up hospitalized this past year because of Covid.
The reason for selecting The Kaiser Permanente health care system was since 2009, it has included exercise as a “vital sign” during patient visits.
The researchers analysed anonymized records for 48,440 adults who were diagnosed with Covid-19 between January and October 2020. All had been patients at Kaiser Permanente for at least six months before testing positive for COVID-19 and had at least three Exercise Vital Sign measurements on file.
The entire group was divided into three categories…
Those who were consistently inactive with only 0 to 10 minutes per week at all three measurements
Those who were active in the range of 11 to 149 minutes per week, or who had variability in their three measurements.
Those who consistently met activity guidelines of over 150 minutes per week at all three measurements
Apart from their exercise routines, the researchers considered other important characteristics, such as…
Did they smoke or have emphysema?
Did they have obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or kidney disease?
Were they immunocompromised for any reason?
Had they gone to the emergency department or been hospitalized in the six months prior to COVID-19 diagnosis?
By putting this information into their analysis, researchers could calculate the risk associated with different outcomes and more clearly see how physical activity itself was associated with COVID-19 outcomes.
As a result, they noticed that the people who were consistently inactive had a significantly higher risk of hospitalisation, ICU admission, and death after getting COVID-19 than those who were active for at least 150 minutes per week.
Additionally, those who were active for over 10 minutes per week had some protection against severe illness or death from COVID-19, though not as much as those who got the full 150 minutes.
Dr. Robert Sallis, a family, and sports medicine doctor at the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center, who led the new study said that “we can tell people that walking briskly for half an hour five times a week should help protect them against severe Covid-19.” Further, he said that “I would never suggest that someone who does regular exercise should consider not getting the vaccine. But until they can get it, I think regular exercise is the most important thing they can do to lessen their risk. And doing regular exercise will likely be protected against any new variants or the next new virus out there.”
original source: British Journal of Sports Medicine -https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2021/04/07/bjsports-2021-104080
The New York Times - https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/14/well/move/exercise-covid-19-working-out.html
Harvard Health Publishing - https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/does-exercise-help-protect-against-severe-covid-19-202106092475