Research has shown that a lack of physical activity among COVID19 patients is linked to more severe symptoms of the disease and a higher risk of death due to infection. The study has enrolled around 50000 people, who have tested positive for COVID19. Experts have said that people who have been leading a sedentary life for at least two years before the COVID19 crisis have been at a higher risk of being hospitalized due to severe disease. They are more likely to require intensive care and lose their lives due to COVID19, said the experts. The findings of the study have been released in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The study has noted that physical inactivity has been exceeded only by old age and a history of organ transplant as a risk factor for severe COVID disease.
The authors of the study have said that a sedentary lifestyle is the strongest risk factor across all the outcomes as compared to other adjustable risk factors such as smoking, obesity, or hypertension. As per the experts, old age, being male, and having diabetes, obesity, or heart issues are some pre-existing conditions that are linked with severe COVID19 disease. However, a sedentary lifestyle has not been included in the list of pre-existing conditions for severe COVID19.
Experts have compared the outcomes of 48440 patients in the US, who have tested positive for COVID19 from January to October 2020. They have tried to find out whether lack of exercise shoots up the risk of severe COVID19 disease, hospitalization, intensive care unit admissions, and death. The average age of the participants who have been enrolled in the study has been 47 years. Out of each five participants, three of them have been women. The body mass index (BMI) of these participants has been 31 on average that is just above the threshold for obesity. Experts have said that nearly half of the participants have been found with no underlying conditions such as diabetes, chronic lung disease, heart or kidney disease, and cancer.
Nearly 20 percent of the participants have been identified with at least one underlying health issue. At the same time, around 30 percent of them have reported having two or more underlying conditions, said the experts. Physically inactive is defined as 0 to 10 minutes of physical activity per week, said the experts. Moderately active can be defined as 11 to 149 minutes of physical activity per week and consistently active means more than 150 minutes of physical activity per week that is recommended by the national health guidelines as well, said the experts.
The authors of the study have said that all participants have informed them about the level of their regular physical activity at least three times from March 2020 to March 2021 at outpatient clinics. Around 15 percent of them have said that they have been physically inactive. Nearly 80 percent of volunteers of the study have said that they have been moderately active. While seven percent of them have said that, they have been consistently active and have been keeping up with the national health guidelines. After adjusting factors like race, age, and underlying health issues, experts have found that the risk of hospitalization among COVID19 patients who have been leading a sedentary life is two times higher than those who have been most active.
They have said that COVID19 patients who have been inactive are 73 percent more likely to require intensive care. These people are at 2.5 times higher risk of death due to COVID19, said the experts. Inactive COVID19 patients are at a 20 percent greater risk of hospitalization as compared to people who are engaged in some physical activity seldom. They are at a 10 percent higher risk of being admitted to the intensive care unit and 32 percent higher risk of death due to COVID19 as compared to people who do some exercise. The findings of the study cannot be taken as direct evidence as the study has been observational. The results of this study rely on participants’ self-reporting.