Study: Physical inactivity tied to severe COVID-19 infection, death

5 Ways to NaturallyBoost Your Immune Health.When it comes to protecting yourself against COVID-19, the best thing you can do is practice proper hygiene and maintain social distancing.If you want to make an additional effortto protect yourself, here are five ways to naturallyboost your immune health and help your body fightoff harmful disease-causing organisms.1. Get Enough Sleep.According to a 2015 study, healthy adults whoslept fewer than 6 hours a night were more likelyto become ill than those who slept longer.2. Eat More Healthy Fats.Foods like olive oil and salmon contain healthyfats which are believed to boost the body’s immuneresponse by decreasing inflammation.3. Increase Probiotic Intake .Eating fermented foods or taking supplements to increase the numberof probiotics in your digestive tract is believedto benefit your immune system.4. Engage in Moderate Exercise .Regular, moderate exercise, such as light hiking,bicycling and swimming is believed to reduceinflammation and help immune cells regenerate.5. Drink Plenty of Water.It’s important to prevent dehydration, as itcan hinder your physical performance and make you more susceptible to illness

There might be another reason to be physically active after a new COVID-19 study.

A recently published large-scale U.S. study has found that a lack of exercise is associated with having more severe COVID-19 infections and death. That risk was surpassed only by older age and organ transplants.

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The research was published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Scientists conducted the study “to compare hospitalization rates, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and mortality for patients with COVID-19 who were consistently inactive, doing some activity or consistently meeting physical activity guidelines,” they wrote in the article.

The observational study involved 48,440 adult patients diagnosed with COVID-19 from January 1, 2020 to October 21, 2020 who had a minimum of three exercise vital sign measurements from March 19, 2018, to March 18, 2020.

Patients self-reported their physical activity levels. Consistently inactive meant they were active from 0 to 10 minutes each week, some activity meant they’d been active between 11 and 149 minutes each week and consistently meeting guidelines meant they’d engaged in 150 minutes or more of weekly activity.

Researchers linked each patients’ reported physical activity levels to the risk of hospitalization, ICU admission and death after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

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They found that patients who had COVID-19 and were consistently inactive in the two years leading up to the pandemic were twice as likely to be admitted to a hospital compared to patients who consistently met physical activity guidelines. They also were 73% more likely to need intensive care, and more than twice as likely to succumb to the disease.

“It is notable that being consistently inactive was a stronger risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes than any of the underlying medical conditions and risk factors identified by (The Centers for Disease Control) except for age and a history of organ transplant,” researchers wrote in their conclusion. “In fact, physical inactivity was the strongest risk factor across all outcomes, compared with the commonly cited modifiable risk factors, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

“We recommend that public health authorities inform all populations that short of vaccination and following public health safety guidelines such as social distancing and mask use, engaging in regular (physical activity) may be the single most important action individuals can take to prevent severe COVID-19 and its complications, including death,” they added.

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