People who exercise face a lower risk of Covid-19 and of severe infection than people who don’t, says an analysis of 16 studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
This could lead to enthusiasm for updating exercise guidelines and health policies concerning exercise as medicine.
You might remember during the darkest days of the pandemic there was a movement to include the health and fitness industry among “essential” services that could continue to be provided during a lockdown. The idea didn’t get far, but it sure makes sense.
The New York Times reports that scientists have noted for decades that physically fit people have fewer and less severe respiratory tract infections. One doctor said, “I call it the vaccine-like effect.”
Around the world, regular exercisers had a 36% lower risk of hospitalization and a 43% lower risk of death from Covid compared to inactive people. In addition, they had a better chance of avoiding it altogether.
Research suggests exercise might fight infectious bacteria and viruses by increasing the circulation of immune cells in the blood. Also, exercise lowers chronic inflammation, which can damage the body and turn immune cells against you. Inflammation is a risk factor for Covid-19, so lowering it should also improve your odds against the virus.
Exercise also keeps you in better health generally, lowering the risk of chronic ailments like heart disease and diabetes.
Don’t wait for another crisis. Get healthy now and start strengthening your immune system.