(Paris) A study of nearly 50,000 patients, published on Wednesday, showed that lack of exercise is associated with an increased risk of infection more seriously, in the case of infection with the Covid-19 virus, and of death due to it.
People who had been physically inactive for at least two years prior to the pandemic were more likely to be hospitalized, need intensive care, and die from coronavirus disease than patients who consistently followed the physics of activity recommendations, according to the study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine.
According to researchers, as a risk factor for developing serious illness, physical inactivity is only overcome with age and transplant history.
In fact, compared to other risk factors such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or cancer, “physical inactivity was the most important risk factor in all of the outcomes,” they indicated.
The risk factors most associated with severe COVID-19 are advancing age, male gender, and certain pre-existing diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
But the physical inactivity factor has yet to be explored. To study its potential impact on infection severity, hospitalization, resuscitation and death, researchers compared the fate of 48,440 adults with COVID-19 between January and October 2020 in the United States.
The average age of the patients was 47 years, nearly two-thirds of them were women (62%). On average, they had a body mass index (BMI) of 31, just above the obesity threshold.
About half of them had no previous illnesses such as diabetes, chronic lung disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease or kidney disease, and cancer. Nearly 20% have one of these risk factors and about a third (32%) have two or more.
Everyone reported their level of regular physical activity at least three times between March 2018 and March 2020 during their outpatient visits.
Of these, 15% described themselves as inactive (0-10 minutes of physical activity per week); 7% asserted that they respect health guidelines systematically (at least 150 minutes per week) the remainder reported “some activity” (11-149 minutes / week).
About 9% of the total was hospitalized and 2% died.
After accounting for differences due to age, race, and comorbidities, stable people with COVID-19 were twice as likely to be hospitalized as those who were more active.
They were also 73% more likely to need resuscitation and 2.5 times more likely to die from the infection.
Patients who did not engage in any physical activity were more likely to be hospitalized and die from infection than those who used to do some exercise.
However, the study does not provide evidence of a direct link between lack of exercise and the results obtained.