Does Exercise Protect You From COVID-19?

Woman stretching before exercise
Photo by Dean Drobot / Shutterstock.com

A little exercise can go a long way toward protecting people from the worst effects of COVID-19, a recent study finds.

A consistent regimen of physical activity provides “strong protection” from hospitalization, intensive care unit admission and death associated with COVID-19, according to a Kaiser Permanente study of nearly 50,000 people diagnosed with the disease caused by the coronavirus.

And even if you just exercise occasionally, you still are likely to fare better than people who are never active.

In an announcement, Dr. Robert E. Sallis, a family and sports medicine physician at the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center in Fontana, California, called the study “a wake-up call for the importance of healthy lifestyles and especially physical activity.”

The study found a strong link between inactivity and poor outcomes after contracting COVID-19.

Compared with their consistently active peers, inactive patients had:

  • 2.26 times greater odds of hospitalization
  • 1.73 times greater odds of ICU admission
  • 2.49 times greater odds of dying

In fact, being consistently inactive is the third-greatest risk factor for death from COVID-19, behind being over the age of 60 and having a history of organ transplant.

In an announcement, study co-author Deborah Rohm Young of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation and a professor in health system science at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, says:

“What surprised me the most from this study was the strength of the association between inactivity and poor outcomes from COVID-19. Even after we included variables such as obesity and smoking in the analysis, we still saw inactivity was strongly associated with much higher odds of hospitalization, ICU admission, and death compared with moderate physical activity or any activity at all.”

So, how much activity do you need? Sallis recommends walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week at a moderate pace, which is characterized by being too winded to sing, but still able to talk.

Such an activity regimen will give you “a tremendous protective effect against COVID-19,” Sallis says.

For more on avoiding the worst of the disease caused by the coronavirus, check out:

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
How to Get the Best Deal on Homeowners Insurance
How to Get the Best Deal on Homeowners Insurance

If you’re not using the latest policy comparison tools, you’re probably paying too much.

If My Spouse Dies, Can I Get Her Social Security?
If My Spouse Dies, Can I Get Her Social Security?

If a spouse dies, will the survivor collect the other’s share in addition to his or her own?

7 Reasons Workers Age 65 and Older Have Not Retired Yet
7 Reasons Workers Age 65 and Older Have Not Retired Yet

For some, the golden years are a time to increase the gold — but their reasons for delaying retirement vary widely.

5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement
5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement

The path to your dream retirement begins with these five steps. How many have you already taken?

26 Things Everyone Should Keep in Their Car
26 Things Everyone Should Keep in Their Car

These tools and conveniences help protect drivers from hassles and calamities on the road.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages

With bipartisan support, this bill could help millions of workers and retirees boost or conserve their retirement savings.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon
Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

7 Everyday Items About to Get More Expensive
7 Everyday Items About to Get More Expensive

Prices hikes are on the way for some essential goods.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target

No store can specialize in everything. For some purchases, it’s smart to shop elsewhere.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores
8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores

For one expert, these secondhand bargains stand out from the rest.

20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Retirees can dial back the intensity of work while continuing to bring in a paycheck.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report
8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report

Federal law lets these entities peek at your credit — regardless of whether you’re borrowing money.

11 Foods That Can Keep for Years
11 Foods That Can Keep for Years

These are some of the longest-lasting groceries you can buy.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Selling Your Stuff? Don’t Fall for These 5 Negotiating Tricks
Selling Your Stuff? Don’t Fall for These 5 Negotiating Tricks

Don’t let buyers fleece you — whether you’re selling via a yard sale or Facebook Marketplace.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.