Exercise & COVID-19

You’ve heard it many times before – exercise is good for you and can help you lose weight, improve your mood, give you more energy, reduce stress, and improve your sleep. But now, it seems like we can add one more benefit to that list.  According to a recent study, regular exercise was strongly associated with a reduced risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes among infected adults.  According to the study, those who were the most inactive had a greater risk of hospitalization, admission to the ICU, and death, compared to those who were consistently meeting physical activity guidelines.  As a result of the wide spread ‘stay-at- home’ orders, many have found themselves settling into a sedentary lifestyle that involves long stretches of sitting in front of the TV or computer screen, which may lead to weight gain, loss of muscle strength, and joint damage.  The pandemic is also taking a toll on emotional health and many people are having issues with anxiety and depression, due to loss of social support and fears about COVID-19.  However, just a few minutes of exercise a day can help you avoid these health risks, and according to this latest research, may improve your outcome if you do get COVID-19.   So, what are the recommendations? In general, you should get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week (such as a brisk walk or a bike ride) or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week (such as a run or climbing stairs).  You should also include some kind of muscle strengthening exercises at least two days a week.



(1) Benefits of Exercise.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Apr. 2021, medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html.

(2) Importance of Physical Activity and Exercise during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Psychiatry: Michigan Medicine.” Psychiatry, 7 Apr. 2020, medicine.umich.edu/dept/psychiatry/michigan-psychiatry-resources-covid-19/your-lifestyle/importance-physical-activity-exercise-during-covid-19-pandemic.

(3) Sallis, Robert, et al. “Physical Inactivity Is Associated with a Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19 Outcomes: a Study in 48 440 Adult Patients.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2021, doi:10.1136/bjsports-2021-104080.