Exercise helps reduce risk of Covid-19 infection and disease, study finds – The Irish Times

Regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection and serious illness from the virus, including hospitalization and death, according to new research.

University researchers in Spain have found that 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week offers the best protection against disease.

The research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, highlights the benefits of engaging in physical activity as a public health strategy to reduce Covid-19 risk.

Academics from the University of Pamplona, ​​the public University of Navarre and the Carlos III Health Institute, a Spanish public health research institute, analyzed international research databases covering almost two million people. adults in nine countries.

Just over half of the people covered by the study were women, and the average age was 53. Countries included the UK, Spain, Sweden, Canada and South Korea.

The hospital and death

The researchers sought to better understand the links between regular physical activity and the severity of Covid-19 and to quantify the threshold of physical activity necessary to reduce the risks of infection and associated hospitalization and death.

The analysis found that those who engaged in regular physical activity each week had an 11% lower risk of Covid-19 infection and a 36% lower risk of hospitalization.

The risk of becoming seriously ill was reduced by 44% while the risk of death from the virus was 43% lower than that of physically inactive people.

The study found that regular moderate-intensity exercise can help boost the body’s anti-inflammatory responses as well as cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, which may explain the beneficial effects on Covid-19 severity. This calls for further research on the subject.

Previous research has suggested that physical activity may reduce the risk of infection and the severity of respiratory infections due, at least in part, to its ability to boost the immune system.

The researchers cautioned that the analysis included observational studies, different study designs and subjective assessments of physical activity levels. The data was also only for Beta and Delta subvariants rather than Omicron, which they say could weaken the results.

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