Compared with the most active people in the study — those who exercised 150 minutes or more every week — patients with COVID-19 who were “consistently inactive” were 226% more likely to be hospitalized, 173% more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU), and 149% more likely to die.
“The magnitude of risk for all outcomes associated with being consistently inactive exceeded the odds of smoking and virtually all the chronic diseases studied in this analysis,” the researchers add. This finding could indicate that “physical inactivity may play a crucial role as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes.”
Physical inactivity was the third highest risk factor — only behind advanced age and history of organ transplant — for patients with COVID-19 ending up being hospitalized, admitted to the ICU, or dying,” Verduzco-Gutierrez said.
You can’t change your risk factor of advanced age — unfortunately — but you can increase your physical activity and decrease your risk of severe COVID,” added Verduzco-Gutierrez, who also serves on the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Inclusion and Engagement Committee and as director of the post-COVID recovery clinic at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and at University Health.