Being Physically Active Leads to Better Recovery Prognosis for People Diagnosed with COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Nov 12;19(22):14908. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192214908.


The regular practice of physical activity helps in the prevention and control of several non-communicable diseases. However, evidence on the role of physical activity in mitigating worsening clinical outcomes in people with COVID-19 is still unclear. The aim of this study was to verify whether different levels of physical activity provide protection for clinical outcomes caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 509 adults (43.8 ± 15.71 years; 61.1% female) with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 residing in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. Participants were interviewed by telephone to determine the severity of the infection and the physical activity performed. Binary logistic regression was used to indicate the odds ratio (OR) of active people reporting less harmful clinical outcomes from COVID-19. Active people had a lower chance of hospitalization, fewer hospitalization days, less respiratory difficulty and needed less oxygen support. The results suggest that active people, compared to sedentary people, have a lower frequency of hospitalization, length of stay, breathing difficulty and need for oxygen support. These results corroborate the importance of public policies to promote the practice of physical activity, in order to mitigate the severity of the clinical outcomes of COVID-19.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; general health; lifestyle; morbidity; mortality; pandemic; physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Oxygen

Grant support

This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—Brasil (CAPES)—Finance Code 001. Brazil. (Proceeding 88882.317622/2019-01).