COVID-19 has taken over many aspects of our lives in the past year, and we’re looking for ways to minimize the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. In a study of 48,440 adult patients conducted in the United States, it was suggested that physical inactivity puts adults at risk of worse COVID-19 symptoms and outcomes. Keep reading as we take a look into this study in more detail and share some of the key findings that could help to minimize your chance of severe COVID-19 outcomes in the future.

A Study into Physical Inactivity and Severe COVID-19 Outcomes

During a study at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, adults with a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis were monitored between January and October 2020. These patients had previously been enrolled in the KPSC health plan and had been tested for exercise vital sign measurements. This vital sign measures the typical exercise habits of individuals in regards to the number of minutes they exercise at a moderate to strenuous level. The study aimed to link the physical activity category with the risk of hospitalization, admission to ICU, and death from COVID-19. Multiple different factors were considered to see whether there is a link between physical inactivity and severe COVID-19 outcomes.

The study results suggested that patients who consistently lacked physical activity in their weekly routine were more likely to be hospitalized from the virus, be admitted to ICU, or die from COVID-19. As a result of the study, it was highly recommended that individuals ensure they meet each week’s physical activity guidelines. Their symptoms are likely to be much less severe if they are unfortunate enough to contract COVID-19. Suggestions were made to encourage this within public health agencies and to ensure this is recommended as part of medical care.

Risk Factors for COVID-19
Prior to this research project, the CDC identified a wide selection of risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcomes and symptoms. These included age, sex, and underlying medical conditions, but there was no mention in regards to physical activity. A lack of physical activity is commonly associated with many illnesses and chronic diseases, including ones that are linked to severe COVID-19 symptoms. This was one of the biggest motivators for this research project, and as the results show, it is yet another factor that may impact how severely COVID-19 affects you or a family member in the future.

Getting the Recommended Amount of Exercise Each Week

While many of us are opting to get vaccinated, it’s still so important that we try to do everything in our power to minimize the chance of contracting COVID-19. It’s recommended that everyone aims for a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate to physical activity, which could be any form of exercise you enjoy doing and that raises your heart rate significantly. There’s plenty of evidence from past research projects that this can offer you many different health benefits, as well as reducing severe COVID-19 outcomes.

Physical inactivity is a huge concern for the population and is one of the reasons that many people struggle to fight illnesses such as COVID-19. Regular physical activity can help improve immune function, which helps your body fight off viral infections. It can also minimize systemic inflammation, which is what has resulted in lung damage with COVID-19. Finally, you’ll find that your muscle strength, lung capacity, and mental health are improved. As you can see, there are just so many reasons that we should all be aiming to get enough exercise in our weekly routine, and this past year has made many of us think about our current health and exercise habits. It’s never too late to make a change, though, so we hope this study will inspire you to combat physical inactivity moving forward.

The study into physical inactivity and its link with severe COVID-19 outcomes is something we encourage everyone to think about when trying to minimize your chance of contracting this deadly virus. While we don’t have full control over what happens regarding our health, we can still take steps every day to reduce the chance of long-term effects of viruses such as COVID-19. We encourage you to start aiming towards increasing your physical activity each week with a few short sessions. From there, you can keep working to make exercise a regular part of your life to enjoy a healthier and more fulfilling life moving forward.