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. Researchers then compared hospitalization rates, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and mortality rate for patients who were consistently inactive, doing some activity, or consistently meeting physical activity guidelines.
In the study, carried out on Californians, the average patient age was 47 and almost two thirds were women.
On the other hand, patients who were consistently inactive had 1.73 times greater chances of ICU admission, while the risk for death was 2.49 times greater for patients who were consistently inactive. On average, their mass-body index was 31, just above the threshold for obesity.
Around half had no underlying conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and cancer. Around 20% had one, and over 30% had two or more.
Study participants were enrolled at the Kaiser Permanent Center for at least six months before their COVID-19 diagnosis, and were required to have had at least three outpatient visits between March 2018 and March 2020 in which a nurse or assistant would ask about and record their typical exercise habits.
Some 15 percent described themselves as inactive (0-10 minutes of physical activity per week), almost 80 percent reported "some activity" (11-149 minutes/week), and seven percent were consistently active in keeping with national health guidelines (150+ minutes/week).
The study, run out of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in California, examined 48,440 adult patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 from January to October in 2020.
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.
While the link is statistically strong, the study - which is observational, as opposed to a clinical trial - can not be construed as direct evidence that a lack of exercise directly caused the difference in outcomes.