CINCINNATI (WKRC) — COVID-19 hospitalizations have continued to climb in the new year.
But that doesn't mean there aren't things you can do to reduce your odds of getting sick from it.
Yet another study now backs up what CDC reports already show – exercise may be one of the strongest weapons yet in lowering the odds you'll get really sick.
It makes you mentally feel better and physically feel better," said Steve Develen, a physical therapist at TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion.
In fact, the study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that in addition to all the other benefits, exercise is linked to less severe COVID-19 outcomes.
This appears to be true not just in healthy people, but in those at higher risk for complications from the virus.
It helps boost your overall health and immune system for fighting things," said Develen. "You see that regularly with people who are active, who are inactive.
Exercise is so powerful that even in those with high blood pressure or heart disease, it reduced the odds of dying from COVID-19.
Mark Apseloff, a member at the Pavilion, says he was one of those at risk people just a few months ago.
One day, he says, he became short of breath.
Then the next day, I woke up and I had six bypasses," said Apseloff.
He decided to get in shape and turn his health around.
"I dropped 50 pounds," he said.
Now, Apseloff says he looks and feels a whole lot better.
"I appreciate every day now," he said.
As part of the study, researchers looked at the health records of nearly 200,000 patients (194,191) who tested positive for COVID-19-before vaccines were widely available.
Those who were consistently inactive before getting COVID-19 were 90 percent (91%) more likely to be hospitalized, and almost 300 times (291%) more likely to die from the disease than those who were active.
"Obviously helps with the immune system, mental health, but really helps stave off things like COVID and also the flu," said Michelle Brooker, the TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion membership director.
The good news is that if you are not into fitness, the authors of the study found you don't have to do a lot. Even a 10-minute walk once a week improved COVID-19 outcomes.