Regular exercise could keep you safe from serious COVID-19 and may even prevent you from becoming infected, according an article published on in August. 22 , in The British Journal of Sports Medicine.

“It’s the right time to look at exercising as medicine,” says co-author Yasmin Ezzatvar who is a doctor of physical therapy as well as a teacher of nursing at the Spanish University of Valencia. “This is yet another reason to prove that.”

The researchers looked at the results of 16 studies published previously which looked at the relationship between exercise and COVID-19-related outcomes. The studies involved over 1.8 million adults and rely on participants ‘ own self-reporting exercises. The majority of these studies were conducted in the year 2020 and 2021 before COVID-19 vaccines became widely accessible.

In comparison to those who did not exercise regularly, people who were active had a 36% lower risk of being likely to end up in the hospital and 43 percent more likely not to be killed should they contracted the virus. Individuals who completed at minimum 150 minutes of moderate-intensity movement or 75 minutes vigorous activity every week, which is the amount recommended from U.S. public-health officials–had the best protection, researchers discovered.

In some ways, this conclusion is evident. Regular exercise is associated with good health and longevity. In addition, it is a great way to prevent or manage chronic diseases which put people at risk of developing COVID-19 related complications such as heart disease and diabetes.

Incredibly, people who exercised were also around one-quarter less likely be infected than those who were more sedentary the study concluded. This suggests that exercising itself can be protective.

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“Regular physical exercise can aid in a stronger immune system,” Ezzatvar says. “It could boost your immunity to many diseases, not just COVID.”

The paper doesn’t offer evidence that exercise causes these effects, but it does state that it is linked to better COVID-19 results. There are other possible explanations for these patterns, like the different lifestyles and exposure to viral infections, as well as social status between people who exercise and those who don’t. Many of the studies were published long before Omicron was widely used and at a time the majority of people weren’t vaccine-free, making it difficult to apply the findings to the current.

Another possible caveat If you happen to exercise next to someone with COVID-19, your routine might not be able to keep your body from contracting the disease. A small study released in May showed that people exercising at a high intensity emits around 130 times the amount of aerosols as they do in their resting state. That’s not good news if the person who is walking next to you is a victim of the virus.

However, exercising is “100 100 percent” suggested for all persons, Ezzatvar says. “It is beneficial for your health, not just for COVID protection but also for your mental health and physical well-being.”

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