Rapid Review Quiz: Exercise

Yasmine S. Ali, MD


October 24, 2022

In a recent study, researchers identified 65,361 members of a private health plan in South Africa with a COVID-19 diagnosis between March 2020 and June 2021. The researchers matched participants with physical activity data, captured by smart devices, both 2 years before the March 2020 lockdown and during the mass participation in an insurer-linked voluntary healthy lifestyle behavior program during the lockdown. 

Participants were grouped by activity level: low (< 60 min/week), moderate (60-149 min/week), and high (≥ 150 min/week).

People with high levels of physical activity had 34% lower risk for hospitalization, 41% lower risk for ICU admission, 45% lower risk of requiring ventilation, and 42% lower risk for death compared with those with low physical activity.

Even moderate physical exercise was associated with a 13% lower risk for hospitalization, 20% lower risk for ICU admission, 27% lower risk of requiring ventilation, and 21% lower risk for death.

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