News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

COVID infectability related to fitness levels

For the first time, a professional journal is tying fitness and exercise to reducing susceptibility to COVID-19. This column has already suggested exercise as being protective against the severity of symptoms, and recovery from COVID, but this is the first time published research suggests that whether or not someone gets infected is tied to fitness.

The research came out of South Korea and polled over 73,000 individuals. The basics of health and lifestyle questions were asked and participants were followed over the course of the study. Three percent contracted COVID. Of these, 58 percent had severe illness and .06 percent perished.

Those who reported 150 minutes per week of moderate-to-intense exercise were 30 percent less likely to have contracted COVID-19. They were almost half as likely to have severe illness, and four times less likely to die.

This paints a pretty clear picture for exercise as a means of COVID-19 mitigation. In fact, someone reading this might be surprised that they have not seen this as a headline on major news.

This isn’t coming from Facebook; this isn’t conspiracy theory web — it’s coming from the British Medical Journal, a renowned publication from the brightest and greatest in modern medicine. The fact that we are still being told to stay inside and close gyms is astonishing in light of the implications of inactivity and obesity in regard to COVID-19.

What can you do? Start small: Walk for 10, 15, 20 minutes. Try every day. Climb the stairs at the stadium. Do squats on a park bench. Place your hands on the back of the bench and push the body away. The most important thing is to get moving for a given period of time with purposeful and intentional exercise. The good thing is that these benefits not only protect against COVID, but multitudes of other threats to well-being.

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