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[GET PHYSICAL!] CDC adds physical inactivity as severe COVID risk factor

In a February 15 update to its evidence-based science brief, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added physical inactivity to the list of underlying medical conditions associated with a higher risk for severe COVID-19. The addition was based on evidence from published reports, scientific articles in press, unreviewed pre-prints, as well as internal data. “Severe” illness from COVID-19 is defined as hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit, intubation or mechanical ventilation, or death.

"Though late to the party, I am happy the CDC has finally acknowledged the overwhelming data proving that exercise is an important medicine that can protect the public from severe COVID-19 outcomes," said Bob Sallis, MD, FACSM, in a communication from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). "Unfortunately, the addition of this information to the CDC website was not publicized in any significant fashion that I can see. I am worried the general public (and much of the medical community) will remain in the dark about how important physical activity is for preventing severe COVID-19."

To help get the word out and facilitate engagement in physical activity before and after a COVID-19 illness, the ACSM developed an educational brochure as part of its Exercise is Medicine initiative called "Returning to Physical Activity After COVID-19." The brochure reviews the benefits, recommended guidelines and ways to integrate physical activity into a daily routine.

Read the CDC scientific brief update here

Download the educational brochure here


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