Self-Reported Pre-Pandemic Physical Activity and Likelihood of COVID-19 Infection: Data from the First Wave of the CoCo-Fakt Survey
Sports Medicine - Open, doi:10.1186/s40798-023-00592-6
Objectives To investigate the potential protective role of exercise on the odds of COVID-19 infection in unvaccinated contact persons (CPs) who were at higher risk of infection due to confirmed contact with infected persons. Methods Before the onset of the vaccination campaign, the first wave of the CoCo-Fakt online survey was conducted with SARS-CoV-2-positive persons and their confirmed contacts who were isolated/quarantined between 1 March 2020 and 9 December 2020. Within this analysis, 5338 CPs were included and divided into those who subsequently tested positive (CP-P) and those who remained negative (CP-N). We assessed demographics as well as prepandemic lifestyle characteristics including physical activity (PA; type, frequency, time, intensity; duration clustered as 'below PA guidelines' , 'meeting PA guidelines' , and 'above PA guidelines'; intensity clustered as 'low intensity' and 'moderate-to-vigorous intensity') and sedentary behaviour.
Results A greater percentage of CP-Ns reported being active before the pandemic compared to CP-Ps (69% vs. 63%; p = .004). Moreover, CP-Ns reported higher PA duration (164.1 min/week vs. 143.2 min/week; p = .038) and higher PA intensities than CP-Ps (67% vs. 60% moderate-to-vigorous intensity, 33% vs. 40% low intensity; p = .003). Adjusting for age, sex, socioeconomic status, migration background, and pre-existing chronic diseases, the odds of infection were negatively associated with exercise (yes/no) (Nagelkerke R 2 = 1.9%), PA levels above PA guidelines (Nagelkerke R 2 = 2.0%), and PA intensity (Nagelkerke R 2 = 1.8%).
Conclusion Due to the beneficial effects of PA on the odds of infection, an active lifestyle should be promoted especially during possible subsequent pandemics (while taking into account necessary hygiene measures). Moreover, inactive and chronically ill persons should be especially encouraged to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at https:// doi. org/ 10. 1186/ s40798-023-00592-6.
Additional file 1. Online survey of the first wave of the CoCo-Fakt cohort study.
Author Contributions NS wrote the manuscript. CJ, BG, AK and JN conceived and conducted the study. NS, SW and CJ ran all data analyses. AG conducted the questions regarding physical activity and sedentary lifestyle. TK contributed to the application at the Ethics Committee of the Medical Faculty of RWTH Aachen University as well as the evaluation and interpretation of this analysis. All authors read the manuscript and agreed to publication.
Declarations Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate Participants were asked to actively consent to their participation in the online survey. Human Ethics Research Committee ethics approval was obtained from the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen Human Ethics Research Committee (351/20) and the research was conducted in accordance with the approved protocol.
Consent for Publication Not applicable.
Competing Interests Nikola Schmidt, Andreas Gehlhar, Barbara Grüne, Annelene Kossow, Thomas Kraus, Johannes Nießen, Stefanie Wessely and Christine Joisten declare that they have no competing interests.
Publisher's Note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
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