According to the study conducted by American scientists on a group of nearly 50,000 COVID-19 patients, compared to people practising sports at least 150 minutes a week, the risk of severe COVID-19 and related hospitalisation among the physically inactive increases by 130% and the risk of death – by 150%.
– It has been known for years that regular physical activity strengthens our immunity, reduces the risk of infections, soothes their course and supports recovery. It also stimulates blood circulation and the movement of the lymph which transports immune cells in our body. Physical activity also supports the general condition of the body and the efficiency of the respiratory system which is of great importance in the case of classic infections and as the latest research clearly shows also in the context of the course of coronavirus infection – says Ernest Kuchar, specialist in infectious diseases and sports medicine from the Medical University of Warsaw.
The significant impact of physical activity on health was also emphasised during the pandemic by the World Health Organisation which increased the recommended weekly dose of moderate exercise for adults from 150 to 300 minutes a week. Meanwhile, the MultiSport Index 2021 survey shows that currently as many as 43% of adult Poles do not follow these recommendations. During the pandemic, the overall level of physical activity in our society decreased significantly – during the first, spring lockdown only, 43% of active residents of Poland admitted that they had limited the number of trainings. The main reason for this change was the closure of the sports infrastructure (MultiSport Index Pandemic).
In their recommendations, the authors of the American study address decision-makers and the health sector, pointing out that regular physical activity, in addition to safety rules (social distancing or the use of face masks), may be the most important action to prevent the severe course of COVID-19 and its complications. This message is especially important given the constraints that make it difficult to engage in regular physical activity during pandemics and lockdowns, the study said.
– It is much easier to introduce and effectively enforce the increased sanitary regime in sports and recreational facilities than in other public places. This is confirmed, among others, by the research conducted by Norwegian scientists which showed that sports facilities applying safety rules similar to those in Poland during the summer period were not a place of increased epidemic risk – emphasises Dr. Ernest Kuchar – Physical activity promotes our immunity. It is something that each of us can undertake so we should create the best possible conditions for it, including resuming the operation of sports facilities in an appropriate sanitary regime – adds the expert.
In Poland, sports facilities have been closed – with short breaks to operate in accordance with the high sanitary regime – for almost a year. Unfortunately, the date of their reopening is still unknown. In the UK, fitness clubs and gyms resumed operations on April 12. British authorities recognise sports facilities as a key infrastructure that is being opened in the first place. On Monday, April 26, the fitness industry will also reopen in Slovakia.