Exercise reduces risk of severe COVID-19 courses

It’s no secret that exercise is good for our body: we have all heard or read somewhere that regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing metabolic or cardiovascular diseases, for example. For about a year, however, fitness studios and sports clubs have been closed and even an evening walk is made difficult in some places by a curfew. In short – the pandemic is not exactly making it easier for us to stay fit. Meanwhile, the large-scale British Journal of Sports Medicine study from the USA suggests that exercise is particularly important in these times: Almost 50,000 COVID-19 infected peopple were asked about their daily activitly level (looking back for the past two years before infection with SARS-CoV-2). The study was recently published. 14% of the respondents were physically inactive (≤ 10 minutes of exercise per week). 80% reported moderate activity (11-149 minutes of exercise per week) and 6% did steady 150 minutes of exercise per week.

The statistical analysis of the survey showed that inactive people with corona infection had to be admitted to hospital significantly more often as part of their treatment than physically active corona patients. Inactive people experienced more severe disease processes and were at a higher risk of having to be treated in an intensive care unit or even of dying from the virus infection. It is important to note that this does not only apply to the most active group: even among those infected with Corona who exercised for 11-149 minutes – up to two and a half hours a week – the risk of death was 32% lower than among those who were completely inactive. In conclusion, the authors of the study expressly point out that any amount of exercise can already have a benefit. It was also examined to what extent other risk factors such as pre-existing cardiovascular, lung, kidney and cancer diseases or smoking influence the course of the disease after COVID-19 infection. On the basis of the data they collected, the authors came to the conclusion that, of all these variables, physical inactivity seems to have the greatest influence and thus seems to represent the greatest risk of a severe course of a corona infection. This applies to both people without and people with chronic underlying diseases. Of course, sport and exercise do not protect against infection – distance, hand washing and a breathing mask, for example, are essential for this – but they strengthen our immune system and our body.

And maybe we will have this in the back of our minds the next time we are faced with the question of whether we really need the car to get to the supermarket (especially now that spring is finally approaching) or whether we need a walk around the block in the Lunch break wouldn’t be entirely refreshing.