Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) has been shown to have a favorable effect on many diseases as a complementary therapy and is a critical component of healthy living. During the pandemic era, physical activity has been promoted for resistance against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, there is scarce evidence on whether MVPA could reduce the infectivity and susceptibility to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The objective of this meta-analysis was to determine the effect of MVPA on morbidity, mortality, and duration of hospitalization in COVID-19 patients. We performed a comprehensive search of five online databases for eligible studies up to September 9, 2021. Meta-analyses were conducted to determine the association between MVPA and COVID-19-related morbidity, hospitalization, and mortality. The odds ratio (OR) was applied as the summary statistic for the primary outcomes. Secondary analyses were conducted to evaluate the difference in the metabolic equivalent of tasks (METs) between the outcome and non-outcome groups with the mean difference as the pooled effect. This meta-analysis included eight observational studies. We found that MVPA significantly reduced the odds of contracting SARS-CoV-2 infection (OR=0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.85-0.92), hospitalization (OR=0.56; 95% CI=0.35-0.92), and mortality (OR=0.42; 95% CI=0.21-0.81) due to COVID-19 compared to no physical activity. METs≥500 min/week were linked to decreased morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 (OR=0.94 [95% CI=0.90-0.98]; OR=0.56 [95% CI=0.38-0.83]). COVID-19 patients with MVPA demonstrated a lower risk of COVID-19-related morbidity, hospitalization, and mortality compared to those who were less active, highlighting the importance of an active lifestyle despite the pandemic situation where such activities are limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-320
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • COVID-19
  • active lifestyle
  • hospitalization
  • morbidity
  • mortality


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