A study published on December 15, 2022 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that COVID-19 patients at Kaiser Permanente who were more physically active before receiving a diagnosis had a lower probability of serious consequences.
Regardless of whether patients had chronic medical issues, the study of almost 200,000 adults revealed a relationship between physical exercise and better COVID-19 outcomes across key demographic categories. According to earlier studies, patients who were black, hispanic, or asian had a higher risk of negative outcomes than those who were white. However, increased activity was still linked to less severe COVID-19 results within each racial and ethnic group.
“The main message is that every little bit of physical activity counts”, “The more exercise the better, no matter a person’s race, ethnicity, age, sex, or chronic conditions.”
Deborah Rohm Young, PhD, the director of the Division of Behavioral Research for the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation
By carefully evaluating the relationship between exercise and COVID-19 results across demographic groups and chronic illnesses, this study expands on past research.
In order to conduct this study, Young and her coworkers examined the electronic health records of 194,191 adult Kaiser Permanente patients in Southern California who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between January 2020 and May 2021, before the widespread use of COVID-19 immunisation.
Prior to infection, all patients had completed the Exercise Vital Sign, a common measurement, which asked about their degree of physical activity. Each patient was assigned to one of five categories, ranging from consistently inactive—10 minutes or less of activity per week—through consistently active—150 minutes of exercise per week.
According to statistical research, the patient’s probability of hospitalisation or passing away within 90 days of receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis was lower the more physical activity they recorded. All degrees of activity showed this pattern, with those who were constantly active experiencing the lowest risk.
For patients with specific underlying chronic diseases, such as obesity, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease, which are normally connected to an elevated chance of having poor COVID-19 outcomes, more activity was also linked to lower rates of hospitalisation or mortality.
“Our findings drive home the need for physicians to emphasize to their patients that getting vaccinated and being more physically active are 2 of the most important things you can do to prevent severe outcomes of COVID-19.”
Robert E. Sallis, MD, a family and sports medicine physician at the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center
“This is a powerful opportunity to develop stronger policies supporting physical activity as a pandemic-mitigation strategy. Our study provides new evidence to inform appropriate interventions across demographic groups.”