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Regular exercise can prevent severe COVID-19, study finds

A study of nearly 50,000 people with COVID-19 found those who are most active are least likely to have severe illness or hospitalization.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A jog a day could keep COVID-19 away, literally. According to a recent study, regular exercise can prevent severe cases of COVID-19. 

According to a report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, scientists in California studied 50,000 people with COVID-19 and found folks who had been the most active before getting sick were the least likely to be hospitalized or die from the disease. The study analyzed data from January 2020 to October 2020.

What's the connection?

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Statistically speaking, people who exercise often are less likely to have some of those pre-existing conditions, such as obesity, that put people at greater risk for COVID-19. 

The benefits of exercise are nothing new. Previous studies show fit people are less likely to catch or cold or other infections, too. Scientists say exercise also increases our immune response, helping us build up more antibodies. 

If you're worried you don't have time, the good news is doctors say it doesn't take much to get on the right path. The study found just over 20 minutes of exercise each day will do the trick. 

RELATED: Professional athletes participate in heart study after COVID-19 diagnosis

“Adults should do at least 150 minutes and up to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity," Dr. Robert E. Sallis, said.

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