Previous research suggests that physical activity can reduce both the risk of infection and the severity of respiratory infections, at least in part, due to its ability to strengthen the immune system.
The connection between Physical Activity and the Severity of COVID-19
The researchers say there is a link between regular physical activity and the severity of COVID-19, but it may be related to both metabolic and environmental factors. and associated with hospitalization and death.
They searched 3 major research databases for related studies published between November 2019 and March 2022 and from an initial period of 291, aggregating 16 results.
The studies included a total of 1,853,610 adults, just over half of whom (54%) were women. The average age of the participants was 53.
Most of the studies are observational and were conducted in Korea, UK, Iran, Canada, UK, Spain, Brazil, Palestine, South Africa and Sweden.
Does physical activity help protect against serious COVID-19 infection?
Meta-analysis of data shows that, overall, people who include regular physical activity in their weekly routine have an 11% lower risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 .
They also had a 36% lower risk of hospitalization, a 44% lower risk of severe COVID-19 illness, and a 43% lower risk of dying from COVID-19 than their physically inactive peers. .
The maximum protective effect occurred at approximately 500 metabolic duty equivalent (MET) minutes per week, after which there was no further improvement.
METS represents the amount of energy (calories) expended per minute of physical activity, and 500 of these equates to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of intense physical activity.
The researchers caution that the analysis included observational studies, different study designs, subjective assessments of physical activity levels, and was only interested in the Beta and Delta variants of SARS. -CoV-2 but not Omicron, all of which could undermine the findings.
But there are plausible biological explanations for what they found, they said. They suggest that regular moderate-intensity exercise may help enhance the body’s anti-inflammatory response, as well as cardiovascular-respiratory and muscularity, all of which may explain its beneficial effects. for the severity of COVID-19.
They conclude: “Our findings highlight the protective effects of adequate physical activity as a public health strategy, with potential benefits for reducing risk of COVID-19 serious.
“Due to heterogeneity and risk of publication bias, further studies with standardized methodology and reporting of results are now required.”
1. Physical activity and infection risk, severity and mortality of COVID-19: a systematic review and non-linear dose-response meta-analysis of data from 853 610 adults – (https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2022/07/07/bjsports-2022-105733)