The secret to fighting the coronavirus may come with a little cardio, according to a new study.
Research from Zhen Yan of the University of Virginia School of Medicine found that regular cardiovascular exercise could help protect against major complications for future COVID-19 patients. Yan recommended getting 30 minutes of daily exercise to help fend off the coronavirus, which can be used as a potential treatment approach and reduce the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome.
“We cannot live in isolation forever,” Yan said in a press release. “Regular exercise has far more health benefits than we know. The protection against this severe respiratory disease condition is just one of the many examples.”
Yan, the director of the Center for Skeletal Muscle Research at UVA’s Robert M. Bern Cardiovascular Research Center, did an in-depth review of existing research looking into “extracellular superoxide dismutase” (EcSOD), an antioxidant that protects tissues and helps prevent disease. Humans produce EcSOD naturally, but Yan said its production is ramped up by cardiovascular exercise.
Yan told Newsweek biking, rowing or other aerobic exercises can help prevent or reduce the severity of ARDS, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates between 20% and 42% of patients hospitalized with the deadly bug will develop.
“It would be difficult to keep social distancing in the gym,” Yan told Newsweek. “Aerobic exercise can be easily done at home, such as [a] stationary bike, aerobic floor exercise and rowing machines. Of course, canoeing, biking and running outside with strict social distance are good options.”
While social distancing makes it tricky to move forward with normal workout routines, there are several different types of exercise that can be conducted inside your home or in areas less frequented. Bodyweight exercises like squats or floor push-ups have been recommended by fitness experts while running or walking can be helpful.