Covid patients with sedentary habits more likely to die, study reveals

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The patients, who were diagnosed as having COVID-19 from Jan 1 to Oct 21, 2020, reported their physical activity as consistently inactive (0 to 10 minutes a week), some activity (11 to 149 minutes), or consistently meeting guidelines (more than 150 minutes).

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 USA infected with COVID-19 between January to October 2020.

Meanwhile, many risk factors for severe coronavirus infections have been identified which includes advanced age, male sex, and certain underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, the researchers said.

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 patients' average age was 47, with almost two thirds of them being women (62 per cent).

The study said it is "reasonable to expect" that regular physical activity may mitigate poor COVID-19 outcomes, citing improved immune function, reduction of systemic inflammation, benefits to cardiovascular health and mental health - but that lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have restricted access to venues where people can be active. Their average weight (BMI) was 31, which is classified as obese.

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Around half had no underlying illnesses, such as diabetes, chronic lung conditions, heart or kidney disease, or cancer.

A recent study of almost 50,000 coronavirus patients found that those who were consistently inactive were at greater risk of death due to the virus than those who engaged in exercise.

Such patients were also 73 per cent more likely to require intensive care, and 2.5 times more likely to die of the infection, according to the study.

People physically inactive for at least two years before the pandemic were more likely to be hospitalised, to require intensive care, and to die, researchers reported Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

A study out of California has determined that physical inactivity is associated with higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. This was done to ensure the EHR captured accurate physical activity habits, the study said.

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