Study: Sport and exercise protect against severe corona progression

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Exercise is healthy - and even helps in the fight against severe corona progression. This is the conclusion of a US study with over 48,000 participants. Even 30 minutes of brisk walking have an effect.

Woman ties bow in running shoe
Sports and exercise help in the fight against severe corona courses.

How do we conquer the corona pandemic? A US study now concludes that sport and exercise can play a part in this.

In their study of 48,440 adult Covid 19 patients, the team of researchers led by Robert E. Sallis from Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center in California came to the conclusion that those who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer severe courses of the disease.

Even 30 minutes of fast walking helps

Even a regular half-hour walk at a brisk pace is enough to increase one's chances of developing the disease more easily. Sick people who are consistently inactive, on the other hand, have a 1.73 times higher risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit. The risk of dying from or with the coronavirus is even 2.49 times greater for them, he said.

"This is a wake-up call to the importance of a healthy lifestyle and physical activity in particular," said study leader Sallis, a physician at Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Centre in the US.

The researchers arrived at the findings by analysing patients' health data from the two years before they developed corona.

This is how the disease progression of the study participants is distributed

 consistently inactive (6,984 persons)occasionally active (38,338 persons)regularly active (3,118 persons)Total number of participants (48,440 persons)
Hospital stay732 (10,5%)3.405 (8,9%)99 (3,2%)4.236 (8,7%)
Transfer to intensive care unit195 (2,8%)972 (2,5%)32 (1%)1.199 (2,5%)
Deaths170 (2,4%)590 (1,5%)11 (0,4%)771 (1,6%)

Active? Inactive? Who is what?

  • consistently inactive: ten minutes or less of exercise per week
  • Occasionally active: eleven to 149 minutes of exercise per week
  • Regularly active: at least 150 minutes of exercise per week

Researchers recommend more social promotion of exercise

The im British Journal of Sports Medicine publishedstudy concludes that inactivity was an even greater risk factor for severe disease progression than advanced age or prior organ transplantation.

In light of the findings, the study recommends promoting physical activity opportunities and more advertising of physical activity to all age groups.