Regular exercise may reduce the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a major cause of death in patients with the COVID-19 virus, a top exercise researcher reports.
A review by Zhen Yan of the University of Virginia School of Medicine showed that medical research findings “strongly support” the possibility that exercise can prevent or at least reduce the severity of ARDS, which affects between 3% and 17% of all patients with COVID-19. Based on available information, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 20% to 42% of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 will develop ARDS. The range for patients admitted to intensive care is estimated at 67% to 85%.
Research conducted prior to the pandemic suggested that approximately 45% of patients who develop severe ARDS will die.
This involves an antioxidant called EcSOD that is produced by the body. Research suggests that even a single session of exercise increases production of the antioxidant.
“Our findings suggest aerobic exercise is particularly potent in stimulating EcSOD expression,” Yan wrote in an email to Newsweek. “With that said, weight training helps maintain or even increase muscle mass. More muscle mass will likely lead to more EcSOD production, hence more benefits. “Aerobic exercise can be easily done at home, such as [a] stationary bike, aerobic floor exercise and rowing machines. Of course, canoeing, biking and running outside with strict social distance are good options.”