Why Physical Activity is So Important for Your Health

Dallas Chiropractor Best Practices

Research Commentary;

Support Your Immune System with Physical Activity

A review of

Sallis, R. et al. (2021) Physical inactivity is associated with a higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes: a study in 48,440 adult patients. British Journal of Sports Medicine – BMJ. doi:10.1136/ bjsports-2021-104080

Research Reviewed by Dr. Anthony Vasile

Physical Activity

Summarized Review of Conclusion:

            This research showed that people who consistently met physical activity guidelines were less likely to be hospitalized, admitted to ICU and die from COVID compared to those who did not. The US Physical Activity Guidelines call for all adults to engage in at least 150 min/week of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Even some exercise, not necessarily meeting the guidelines, helped lower these chances.

Inactivity is one of the strongest risk factors for developing complications from COVID-19. This is precisely why we educate our patients on the importance of movement. This is through Hilton’s law and through education of PA guidelines. Moving well is just one of the three factors that lead us to staying healthy. Especially in these times it is important to manage stress and supplement with a high quality omega 3 essential fatty acid and vitamin D to keep the immune system functioning properly. If done appropriately COVID 19 and the many other viruses that people are exposed to every day will not have as big as an impact like we have seen this past year.

Below I have referenced key quotes from this research to help summarize the results.


Quotes from the Article:

“Patients with COVID-19 who were consistently inactive had a greater risk of hospitalization, admission to the ICU, and death due to COVID-19 than patients who were consistently meeting physical activity guidelines [150 minutes/wk of vigorous physical activity].”


“Patients who were consistently inactive also had a greater risk of hospitalization, admission to the ICU, and death due to COVID-19 than patients who were doing some physical activity.”


“Even activity levels that did not meet the PA guidelines were significantly associated with reduced odds of hospitalisation and death.”


“Physical inactivity was the strongest risk factor across all outcomes, compared with the commonly cited modifiable risk factors, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer.”


Introduction to the Research

During the pandemic, populations across the globe have been advised to stay home and avoid contact with individuals outside of one’s household. Lockdowns and other measures that constrain travel have restricted access to gyms, parks and other venues where people can be active

The purpose of this research was to compare hospitalization rates, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and mortality for patients with COVID-19 who were consistently inactive, doing some activity or consistently meeting physical activity guidelines.


Research Methodology

The researchers identified 48,440 adult patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis from 1 January 2020 to 21 October 2020, with at least three exercise vital sign measurements from 19 March 2018 to 18 March 2020. They linked each patient’s self-reported physical activity category (consistently inactive=0–10 min/week, some activity=11–149 min/week, consistently meeting guidelines=150+ min/week) to the risk of hospitalisation, ICU admission and death after COVID-19 diagnosis. They conducted multivariable logistic regression controlling for demographics and known risk factors to assess whether inactivity was associated with COVID-19 outcomes.      


Research Findings

The study found that consistently meeting physical activity guidelines was strongly associated with a reduced risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes among infected adults. The researchers recommend efforts to promote physical activity be prioritized by public health agencies and incorporated into routine medical care.


Research References

As always with these reviews, these are my takeaways from the article and I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.  The references used in this article by the authors of this article are listed below.