Among COVID patients, a lack of exercise is associated with more severe symptoms and an increased threat of death, according to a report covering practically 50,000 persons who were infected with the virus.
People physically inactive for at least two years prior to the pandemic were more likely to be hospitalised, to require intensive care, also to die, researchers reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
As a risk factor for serious COVID disease, physical inactivity was surpassed only by advanced age and a history of organ transplant, the analysis found.
Indeed, in comparison to other modifiable risk factors such as for example smoking, obesity or hypertension, "physical inactivity was the strongest risk factor across all outcomes," the authors concluded.
The pre-existing conditions most connected with serious COVID-19 infection are advanced age, being male, and having diabetes, obesity or coronary disease.
But until now, a sedentary lifestyle has not been included.
To see whether a lack of exercise increases the odds of extreme infection, hospitalisation, admission into an intensive care unit (ICU), and death, the researchers compared these outcomes in 48,440 adults in the usa infected with COVID-19 between January and October 2020.
The common age of patients was 47, and three out of five were women. Normally, their mass-body index was 31, right above the threshold for obesity.
Around half had no underlying illnesses, such as for example diabetes, chronic lung conditions, heart or kidney disease, or cancer. Nearly 20 percent had one, and a lot more than 30 percent had several.
Each of the patients had reported their degree of regular exercise at least 3 x between March 2018 and March 2020 at outpatient clinics.
Some 15 percent described themselves as inactive (0-10 minutes of exercise per week), practically 80 percent reported "some activity" (11-149 minutes/week), and seven percent were constantly active commensurate with national health guidelines (150+ minutes/week).
After allowing for dissimilarities because of race, age and underlying medical ailments, sedentary COVID-19 patients were a lot more than twice as apt to be admitted to hospital as those who were most active.
These were also 73 percent much more likely to require intensive care, and 2.5 times much more likely to die because of the infection.
Compared to patients in the habit to do occasional exercise, couch potatoes were 20 percent more likely to be admitted to hospital, ten percent much more likely to require intensive care, and 32 percent much more likely to die.
As the link is statistically strong, the analysis -- which is observational, as opposed to a clinical trial -- can't be construed as direct evidence that a insufficient exercise directly caused the difference in outcomes.
The findings also be based upon self-reporting by patients, with a potential for bias.