Reduce risk of severe Covid with regular activity, study says. Here's how to get in 22 minutes of exercise daily

A cyclist rides in Central Park in New York City, April 10. Physical inactivity is linked to more severe Covid infection and a heightened risk of dying from the disease, a new study has found.

Dana Santas, known as the "Mobility Maker," is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and mind-body coach in professional sports, and is the author of the book "Practical Solutions for Back Pain Relief."

(CNN)A history of being consistently active is strongly associated with a reduced risk of severe Covid-19, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The Kaiser Permanente study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at nearly 50,000 adults with Covid-19. The research found that those who met the target of the US Department of Health and Human Services' physical activity guidelines -- of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity -- showed significantly lower incidences of hospitalization, ICU admission and death due to Covid-19 illness.
The guidelines, which are the same as the World Health Organization guidelines used by many nations, are based on research supporting the ability of physical activity to boost immune function, reduce systemic inflammation, increase pulmonary and cardiovascular health, and improve mental health.
    With all those benefits regular movement brings, it may not be that surprising that physical activity meeting these guidelines also would lessen the severity of symptoms of Covid-19. Indeed, acute Covid illness is just one of the many potential negative impacts of sedentary behavior, a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke and some cancers.
      To date, the risk factors for severe Covid-19, as identified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include being of advanced age, being male, and having underlying comorbidities, such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
        Many of the listed risk factors are difficult — if not impossible — to mitigate, so it's understandable if you feel powerless in the face of some of them. However, the results of this new study could, arguably, add inactivity to the top of that list. Since inactivity is a modifiable risk factor, you can absolutely control it! Read on to learn how.
        To reach the 150-minute exercise threshold over the course of a week, you need to exercise just under 22 minutes daily. For someone who doesn't exercise on a regular basis, that might sound a bit overwhelming. But 22 minutes a day doesn't have to mean signing up for a new gym membership, investing in a treadmill, or completely revamping your schedule.
          With the right strategies, you can accomplish your daily exercise goal with very little disruption to your lifestyle, which is important for being able to sustain your new activity level.
          Here are five practical, sustainable strategies to help you get in 22 active minutes a day.
          Important note: Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your doctor. Stop immediately if you experience pain.

          1. Take regular walks

          Because walking is so accessible, it's easy to discount its benefits. The reality, though, is that a brisk walk is one of the most underrated, health-boosting, fat-burning exercises available to humankind.