This article originally appeared Shape.
For years, doctors have stressed the importance of working out regularly to boost your overall health and wellbeing. Now, a new study has found it might even have an added bonus: It could help reduce your risk of severe COVID-19.
The study, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, analyzed data from 48,440 adults who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between January 1, 2020 and October 21, 2020. The researchers looked at the patient's previously reported physical activity levels and compared them with their risk of hospitalization, ICU admission, and death after being diagnosed with COVID-19 (all considered indications of "severe" disease).
Here's what they found: People who were diagnosed with COVID-19 who were "consistently inactive" — meaning, they did 10 minutes or less of physical activity a week — had a 1.73 times greater risk of being admitted to the ICU and a 2.49 times greater risk of dying from the virus compared to those who were physically active for 150 minutes or more a week. People who were consistently inactive also had a 1.2 times greater risk of being hospitalized, 1.1 times greater risk of ICU admission, and 1.32 times greater risk of death than those who did between 11 and 149 minutes a week of physical activity.