Lack of exercise among coronavirus patients is linked to more acute symptoms and an increased risk of death, as per a study covering around 50,000 affected people.
People who were physically inactive for a minimum of two years before the COVID-19 pandemic struck were more likely to be hospitalised, to need intensive care, and to die, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine on Tuesday, the AFP reported.
The study further found that physical inactivity, as a risk factor for serious COVID-19 disease, was surpassed only by advanced age and a history of organ transplant.
The authors deduced that as compared to other variable risk factors, for instance, hypertension, smoking, and obesity, "physical inactivity was the strongest risk factor across all outcomes."
The already existing conditions commonly associated with severe COVID infection are being male, advanced age, and having obesity, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.
However, thus far, a sedentary lifestyle has not been included.
In order to ascertain if a lack of exercise heightens the odds of severe infection, hospitalisation, admission into ICU, and death, the scientists compared these findings in 48,440 adults in the US infected with COVID-19 between January to October 2020.
The average age of the COVID patients was 47, and three out of five were women. On average, their mass-body index was 31, just over the threshold for obesity.
Approximately half had no underlying illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, heart or kidney disease, or chronic lung conditions. Around 20% had one, and over 30% had two or more. All patients had stated their level of regular physical activity at least three times between March 2018 and March 2020 at outpatient clinics.
Around 15% said that they were inactive (0-10 minutes of physical activity per week), close to 80% reported "some activity" (11-49 minutes/week), and 7% were consistently active in line with national health guidelines (150+ minutes/week).
After taking into account differences because of age, race, and underlying medical conditions, sedentary coronavirus patients were more than twice as likely to be admitted to hospital as those who were most active.
They were also 73% more likely to need intensive care, and 2.5 times more likely to die because of the infection. In contrast to patients habitual to doing intermittent physical activity, couch potatoes were 20% more likely to be admitted to hospital, 10% more likely to need intensive care, and 32% more likely to die.