Regular exercise or a 30-minute brisk walk in the neighbourhood park or in your society five days a week while following the social distancing norms can improve your chances of beating Covid-19, reveals a significant study that analysed 48,440 adults who were Covid positive.
On the other hand, patients who were consistently inactive had 1.73 times greater chances of ICU admission, while the risk for death was 2.49 times greater for patients who were consistently inactive.
Other than being over the age of 60 or having a history of organ transplant, being consistently inactive conferred the highest risk for death from Covid-19.
Even patients who were inconsistently active had lower chances for severe Covid-19, suggesting any amount of physical activity has benefit, revealed the findings published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
“This is a wake-up call for the importance of healthy lifestyles and especially physical activity,” said Robert E Sallis, physician at the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Centre in the US.
“People who regularly exercise had the best chance of beating Covid-19, while people who were inactive did much worse,” Sallis added.
For the study, the team identified 48,440 adults with a Covid-19 diagnosis from January 1, 2020, to October 21, 2020.
They found 6.4 per cent were consistently active and 14.4 per cent were consistently inactive, with the remainder falling in the inconsistently active category. Among all Covid-19 patients, 8.6 per cent were hospitalised, 2.4 per cent were admitted to the ICU, and 1.6 per cent died.
“What surprised me the most from this study was the strength of the association between inactivity and poor outcomes from Covid-19,” said Deborah Rohm Young from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
“Even after we included variables such as obesity and smoking in the analysis, we still saw inactivity was strongly associated with much higher odds of hospitalisation, ICU admission, and death compared with moderate physical activity or any activity at all,” Young added.
The results showed that inactivity is strongly associated with poor Covid-19 outcomes, Sallis said, while suggesting walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week at a moderate pace, to prevent Covid-19.
“Exercise is medicine that everyone should take – especially in this era of Covid-19,” Sallis said.