Can exercise reduce the severity of COVID-19?

By: peaksports-admin | Posted: 11/19/2020

Can exercise reduce the severity of COVID-19?

According to Brawner et al. (2020), there is a possibility! Their study from this year looked at cardiovascular fitness, and severity of COVID-19 infection and illness-related hospitalization. It is widely known that cardiovascular training (i.e. aerobic exercise) is healthy for our heart function and overall fitness, however, it is also linked to better immune function, lower levels of inflammation in the body and a lower risk of respiratory infections. 

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2, 2019-nCoV) a.k.a. COVID-19  primarily affects the respiratory system, although other organ systems are also involved. Symptoms range from mild cold/flu like symptoms to serious respiratory distress, the need for a ventilator, and/or death. 

The novel study by Brawner et al. (2020), introduces the correlation between better cardiovascular fitness and lower severity of symptoms once infected with COVID-19.

The authors used a classification system called METs to judge exercise intensity in their study. METs can be a number between 1-10, with 1 MET correlating with sitting still and >6 METs correlating with vigorous exercise (i.e. tennis, running, soccer, etc). In their study, the higher the MET level the lower likelihood of hospitalization after infection with COVID-19. This means that maintaining good cardiovascular fitness and regular physical activity can help fight off serious complications or symptoms that are possible to develop if you have COVID-19.

This is a great first study to link higher intensity exercise to lower risk of hospitalization during COVID-19 infection, and it emphasizes the importance of staying active during this time.

However, if you have pain then you may not be participating in as many recreational activities that you would like. If this is you, then you may benefit from a physical therapy evaluation. Physical therapy is a great community resource that can help you identify the cause of your pain and get you back to all of your normal activities. This is especially important now because according to Brawner et al., exercising or doing any kind of physical activity may help reduce your risk of serious COVID-19 infection! 

So, come on into your local Peak Sports and Spine Physical Therapy office and get evaluated today! We have initiated a rigorous cleaning process to ensure safety while you visit and are able to maintain distancing requirements with plenty of space or private rooms. 


  • Brawner CA, Ehrman JK, Bole S, Kerrigan DJ, Parikh SS, Lewis BK, GindiRM, Keteyian C, Abdul-Nour K, Keteyian SJ, Maximal Exercise Capacity is Inversely Related toHospitalization Secondary to Coronavirus Disease 2019, Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2020), doi:

Yuki K., Fujiogi M. COVID-19 pathophysiology: A review. Clin Immunol. (2020);108427 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Search our posts
Get in touch
You can message a clinic directly using this form.
Contact Form with Map
Maple Valley