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Henry Ford Study Finds Better Aerobic Fitness May Reduce Severe Effects of COVID-19


(WXYZ) – A new study from the Henry Ford Health System has found that people in better shape are less likely to have severe cases of COVID-19.

The study was published in the January issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings and is one of the first studies to report an association between fitness and the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization.

It examined 18,000 patients who underwent a stress test on a treadmill between January 2016 and February 29, 2020. Of these patients, 1,181 were tested for COVID-19 between February and May 31, 2020, and 246 have tested positive for the virus, and of those 246, 89 were hospitalized with COVID-19.

“This is one more reason to walk or ride the exercise bike,” Dr. Clinton Brawner, senior researcher and clinical exercise physiologist, said in a statement. “This adds to the current understanding that exercise and good physical condition are linked to a lower risk of upper respiratory infections like COVID-19 and suggests that people can generally tolerate this infection better if they are older. in shape. “

According to the study, those who were hospitalized were less physically fit than those who were not hospitalized.

The study found that aerobic-type exercise like walking and jogging will increase cardiopulmonary fitness and improve immune fiction, which plays a role in reducing the negative effects of respiratory infections like COVID-19.

The researchers also looked at the difference in aerobic capacity by measuring levels using “metabolic task equivalents,” known as MET, which is the standard measure of aerobic capacity. Walking at 3 mph equates to approximately 3.5 METs.

Each 1 MET greater peak in fitness was associated with a 13% lower risk of hospitalization from COVID-19.

The researchers then looked at the difference in aerobic capacity between COVID-positive patients who ultimately were hospitalized and those who were not. They measured fitness levels using “metabolic

“The take-home message from our study is that better physical condition is linked to a lower risk of hospitalization from COVID-19,” said study co-author Dr. Jonathan Ehrman. “Our data suggests that striving for a maximum fitness level of at least 7.5 METS – equivalent to a slow jog – could be a good goal for our patients and the general population to reduce the risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19. “


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