According to a data analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, regular exercise can lower the risk of developing Covid-19 or getting seriously ill when one contracts the virus. The data suggests that about 20 minutes of exercise a day yielded the greatest results.
The study stated that a weekly total of 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity would give the greatest results.
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“Regular physical activity seems to be related to a lower likelihood of adverse Covid-19 outcomes,” the team of researchers wrote.
“Our analysis reveals that individuals who engage in regular physical activity have a lower likelihood of Sars-CoV-2 infection, Covid-19 hospitalization, severe Covid-19 illness and Covid-19-related death than physically inactive individuals, independent of design and instrument used.”
In general, exercise has a protective effect when it comes to respiratory infections. Regular physical activity reduces one’s chances of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and a multitude of other illnesses, most recently Covid-19.
The researchers emphasized that the analysis was relatively limited, so the results shouldn’t be taken at face value. The team attempted to quantify the specific threshold of physical activity needed to make an actual difference in lessening the risk of contracting Covid-19, or lessening the severity should one become infected.
The study observed data from 1.8 million adults, 54% of which were women, and the median age of each individual was 53.
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The data analysis showed that, overall, “those who included regular physical activity in their weekly routine had an 11% lower risk of infection with Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid.”
Those individuals also had a 36% lower risk of hospitalization, a 44% lower risk of severe Covid-19, and a 43% lower risk of death from Covid-19.
The research team also warned that the data was a result of “observational studies, differing study designs, subjective assessments of physical activity levels, and concerned only the Beta and Delta variants of Sars-CoV-2 rather than Omicron, all of which could weaken the findings.”
“There are plausible biological explanations for what we found. Regular moderate-intensity exercise may help to boost the body’s anti-inflammatory responses, as well as cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, all of which may explain its beneficial effects on Covid-19 severity,” the researchers said.
“Our findings highlight the protective effects of engaging in sufficient physical activity as a public health strategy, with potential benefits to reduce the risk of severe Covid-19.”
“Given the heterogeneity and risk of publication bias, further studies with standardized methodology and outcome reporting are now needed,” they wrote.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.