Exercise keeps us healthy – that much is certain. In addition to the positive effects on joints, cardiovascular system and psyche, regular exercise should also reduce the likelihood of contracting Covid-19. A recent study suggests that. The risk of infection is also lower.

Sport is considered the elixir for a long, healthy life. Regular exercise not only ensures strong bones, a healthy cardiovascular system and builds muscles, but above all strengthens the immune system.

The latter aspect in particular can benefit athletes in the current pandemic times – this is shown by a current study from Spain, which was published in the ” British Journal of Sports Medicine “. Regular exercise not only reduces the general risk of infection, but also protects against a serious course of the disease.

“Overall, those who engaged in regular physical activity had a lower risk of infection, hospitalization, severe illness and COVID-19-related death compared to their inactive peers,” the study authors write.

As part of their investigation, the researchers analyzed 16 studies involving over 1.85 million study participants to find out what level of physical activity can potentially reduce the risk of infection with Covid-19. In addition, it should be determined to what extent the risk of a severe course with hospitalization and even death can be reduced. The result:

The researchers were also able to make statements about the corresponding scope of activities. They defined a range of 500 minutes as the ideal weekly metabolic equivalent (MET) of physical activity in order to benefit from the benefits mentioned. The MET can be used to compare the energy consumption of a person in different activities.

The metabolic equivalent (MET) is used to compare different activities in terms of their energy consumption. A MET corresponds to the turnover of 3.5 ml oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute in men and 3.15 ml oxygen/kg/min in women at rest. The more strenuous the sport, the higher the MET:

Converted, this corresponds to 150 minutes of moderately intensive exercise – for example walking or walking – or 75 minutes of intensive physical activity – for example intensive dancing, jogging or cycling.

A lack of exercise can have a negative impact on the risk of infection or the course of the disease in the event of infection with Covid-19, as it promotes obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. They are considered the greatest risk factors for a severe course.

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However, since a lack of exercise has so far only rarely been noted in the medical records, a clear connection has so far been difficult to prove. The authors of the study emphasize that the limitations of the study examined must also be taken into account when interpreting the present results. An example of this is the diversity of the analyzed studies. Further studies with standardized methods and endpoints are therefore necessary.

Either way, we all benefit from regular physical activity. In addition to a strong cardiovascular system, the stabilization of bones and muscles and improved endurance, there are numerous other physical and psychological benefits:

By the way: as early as 2018, the WHO published a study on the alarming physical activity behavior of the world population. Even before the corona pandemic, 1.4 billion people were not moving enough and thus risked long-term health consequences. As part of the study, the researchers published recommendations for weekly exercise — which align with the findings of the newly published study.

Accordingly, an adult should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. In order to improve health in the long term, the workload should even be doubled – this corresponds to: 300 minutes of moderate-intensity sport or 150 minutes of intensive training per week. So put on your sports shoes, because it’s better to exercise a little more than a little too little.