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You can reduce your risk of severe COVID-19 by exercising

Regular exercise can help you avoid severe COVID-19 illness, according to a new study

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Mark Carbonaro, of Canton, Mass., cleans a piece of exercise equipment, Monday, July 6, 2020, before working out at the gym, in Canton.

Mark Carbonaro, of Canton, Mass., cleans a piece of exercise equipment, Monday, July 6, 2020, before working out at the gym in Canton. Regular exercise can help people avoid severe COVID-19 illness, according to a new study.

Steven Senne, Associated Press

Want to avoid a severe case of COVID-19? A new study says you may want to exercise regularly.

How to avoid severe COVID-19

A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that people who followed physical activity guidelines — which call for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week — had lower chances of severe COVID-19.

  • The study — which reviewed health records for about 50,000 adults from California who got COVID-19 — showed there were lower hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths among those who participated in physical activity.

Specifically, the study looked at how well the participants followed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ physical activity guidelines, which suggests exercising 22 minutes per day.

  • “For someone who doesn’t exercise on a regular basis, that might sound a bit overwhelming. But 22 minutes a day doesn’t have to mean signing up for a new gym membership, investing in a treadmill, or completely revamping your schedule,” according to CNN.

Healthy people avoid illness

The study matches what scientists have felt before — that “aerobically fit people are less likely to catch colds and other viral infections and recover more quickly than people who are out of shape, in part because exercise can amplify immune responses,” The New York Times reported.

  • “Better fitness also heightens antibody responses to vaccines against influenza and other illnesses,” according to The New York Times.
  • Of course, the novel coronavirus is new, so it’s been unclear whether those same findings apply to the coronavirus.

Biggest tip for avoiding severe COVID-19

Dr. Robert Sallis, a sports medicine doctor for the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center which led the study, told The New York Times the results clearly show that “being sedentary was the greatest risk factor” for having severe COVID-19, according toThe New York Times.

“I think, based on this data we can tell people that walking briskly for half an hour five times a week should help protect them against severe COVID-19,” he told The New York Times.