Exercise can cut Covid-19 death risk by more than third, new study finds

People jogging in park
People jogging in park (PA Media)
10:07am, Wed 21 Apr 2021
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Regular exercise cuts the risk of dying from infectious diseases such as Covid-19 by more than a third, according to new research.

An international team of scientists found 150 minutes a week of physical activity that gets you slightly out of breath can have a massive impact on immunity.

It suggests exercise can reduce fatalities by 37%, the danger of even catching similar diseases by 31% and boost the effectiveness of vaccines by up to 40%.

You need to keep it up as it’s about regular exercise and making time to build it into your day

Professor Sebastien Chastin, who led the study, said: “You don’t need to go to a gym, as dancing around the living room, going for a run or walk is just as effective.

“In this period of pandemic being outside is better than in a gym or closed environment.

“The clear message is ‘stay active’ – it’s not only good for your mental and general health, but we now have the proof that it is also good for boosting your immunity.

“You need to keep it up as it’s about regular exercise and making time to build it into your day.”

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) conducted the full-scale systematic review of 16,698 worldwide epidemiological studies published between January 1980 and April 2020 with world-renowned immunologists and epidemiologists from other institutions.

Prof Chastin, a specialist in health behaviour dynamics at GCU, added that physical activity “strengthens the first line of defence of the human immune system and a higher concentration of immune cells” in the world’s first study into the link between exercise and Covid-19 immunity.

The research has been published in the Sports Medicine journal and findings have already gone to the Scottish Government and other governments around the world as well as public health experts and healthcare professionals.

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