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Effects of physical activity on the severity of illness and mortality in COVID-19 patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Sittichai et al., Frontiers in Physiology, doi:10.3389/fphys.2022.1030568
Nov 2022  
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Exercise for COVID-19
9th treatment shown to reduce risk in October 2020
*, now known with p < 0.00000000001 from 66 studies.
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4,000+ studies for 60+ treatments.
Systematic review and meta analysis of 18 studies, showing significantly lower COVID-19 severity and mortality with physical activity.
6 meta analyses show significant improvements with exercise for mortality Ezzatvar, Halabchi, Liu, Rahmati, Sittichai, ICU admission Rahmati, hospitalization Ezzatvar, Halabchi, Li, Rahmati, severity Ezzatvar, Liu, Sittichai, and cases Ezzatvar.
Currently there are 66 exercise for COVID-19 studies, showing 48% lower mortality [38‑57%], 46% lower ventilation [32‑57%], 41% lower ICU admission [35‑47%], 33% lower hospitalization [25‑40%], and 23% fewer cases [14‑31%].
Sittichai et al., 8 Nov 2022, peer-reviewed, 8 authors. Contact:,
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Effects of physical activity on the severity of illness and mortality in COVID-19 patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Nuttawut Sittichai, Nichapa Parasin, Surasak Saokaew, Sukrit Kanchanasurakit, Nuttawan Kayod, Ketnapa Praikaew, Pochamana Phisalprapa, Mujalin Prasannarong
Frontiers in Physiology, doi:10.3389/fphys.2022.1030568
Purpose: This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated the association between Physical activity (PA) before Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection and the severity of illness and mortality in COVID-19 patients. Methods: A comprehensive search was undertaken to identify retrospective and nonrandomized controlled trial studies comparing the severity and mortality of COVID-19 infection among COVID-19 patients who had previously reported their participation in PA with those who had not. The databases searched were PubMed, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Science Direct, EMBASE, OPENGREY.EU, and The risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. A random-effects model was used for determining pairwise meta-analyses. The protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42021262548). Results: Eighteen studies met the inclusion criteria (5 cross-sectional, 12 cohort, and 1 case-control studies). All 1 618 680 subjects were adults. PA significantly decreased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients (odds ratio [OR] 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.19-0.62; p < 0.001) and the risk of severe outcomes (OR 0.60; 95% CI, 0.48-0.76; p < 0.001). Subgroup analysis showed that PA for ≥150 min/wk at a moderate intensity or ≥75 min/wk at a vigorous intensity reduced the risks of severity and mortality. Vigorous PA reduced mortality risk, whereas moderate to vigorous PA reduced the risks of severity and mortality. Conclusion: PA before infection might reduce severity and mortality in COVID-19 patients, especially PA ≥ 150 min/wk of moderate activity or ≥75 min/wk of
Author contributions NS, NP, SS, NK, KP, MP, and PP took part in designing the study, the selection process, and the writing of the first manuscript draft; NS, NP, SS, and MP took part in designing the study; NS, NP, SS, SK, NK, KP, and MP took part in the selection process and statistical analyses; NS, NP, NK, KP, MP, and PP wrote sections of the manuscript; all authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript and agreed with the order of presentation of the authors. Conflict of interest The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Publisher's note All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher. Supplementary material The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: 2022.1030568/full#supplementary-material SUPPLEMENTARY FIGURE S1 Assessing publication bias by funnel plot: (A) effects of physical activity on mortality; (B) effects of physical activity on severity. SUPPLEMENTARY FIGURE S2 Assessing publication bias by Egger's test: (A) effects of physical activity..
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