It looks like the best medicine against covid could be something that few of us might have considered – exercise. Check out the exciting details below.
Exercise could be the best medicine for covid and long covid
“Exercise is the most important medicine for COVID-19,” according to a recent review published in Current Sports Medicine Reports.
As of September 2022, COVID-19 has caused over 6.4 million deaths worldwide. Despite efforts such as vaccinations, boosters, handwashing, social distancing, and masking, many fully vaccinated individuals are still getting infected and experiencing symptoms ranging from mild to severe, including prolonged hospital stays and even death.
With the emergence of new variants, some experts are now suggesting that exercise should be a primary strategy in preventing and treating COVID-19 and long COVID.
According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, public health leaders should consider incorporating physical activity into their pandemic control measures.
Clinical EvidenceBy following exercise guidelines consistently, people can reduce their risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 by up to 42%, ICU admission by up to 38%, and death by up to 83%, as reported in a review by Current Sports Medicine Reports.
This holds true for people with or without chronic conditions, as well as across major demographic subgroups. Over 25 studies and a meta-analysis have shown that regularly physically active individuals have experienced fewer negative impacts from COVID-19 than those who were inactive.
A 2022 review published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that physically active groups have a lower risk of severe COVID-19 due to exercise-induced immunoprotective effects, such as reduced chronic inflammation.
Researchers wrote, “Scientific consensus groups, including those who submitted the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, have not yet given this area of research the respect that is due.”
Regular physical activity, consisting of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week, can greatly reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection by 11 to 22 percent.
This is especially important for individuals who are inactive or overweight, as their immune systems may not be as strong.
At the cellular level, exercise releases signaling molecules called exerkines from various parts of the body, including muscles, adipose tissue, neurons, the heart, and the liver.
These exerkines can improve cardiovascular, metabolic, immune, and neurological health.
Even outside of the context of COVID-19, exerkines have the potential to treat diseases like cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
However, when it comes to COVID-19, exercise can release exerkines that may help mitigate the effects of the virus on organ systems.