Exercise and COVID-19

I know many of you are wondering if your efforts at the gym will make a difference if you contract COVID-19. Dr. Abarno has been looking at the research and the results are interesting. I would like to introduce you to Ryan Abarno DPT.  Dr. Abarno is the new Clinical Director at Lifestyle PT and he has been looking into research studying Cardiorespiratory fitness and complications from contracting COVID-19. Dr. Abarno specializes in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and the science of exercise. He is a competitive power lifter giving him a unique perspective on how exercise influences the human body. I hope you enjoy today’s post.

At this point we all are probably feeling a bit of pandemic fatigue thanks to Covid-19 (and we’re all probably a little tired of hearing about it). It has impacted lives on a scale that has not been seen in generations and its effect on society may be long lasting. However, being the optimist that I am, every situation, good or bad, serves as an opportunity to learn. As we get closer to the one year mark from which Covid-19 made its appearance known, we have found that there are ways we can reduce our chance of getting the virus and there are also things that we can do to improve how our bodies respond to the virus.

It is relatively common knowledge that exercise is good for you, but research is starting to show that being fit greatly improves our chances of getting through a bout with Covid-19. A new study, that is being prepared for publication in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, examined the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and complications from Covid-19. (We’re going to see if I can get through this post without saying Covid-19 more than 10 times.) To determine this relationship, data was gathered on patients who had a stress test prior to testing positive for Covid-19. A stress test measures one’s maximal exercise capacity which can then be used to determine cardiorespiratory fitness. Ultimately, they found that individuals who had lower cardiorespiratory fitness levels had a higher chance of developing complications from Covid-19.

So, what does this mean for us? It means that we need to stay active. Exercise packs a 2 for 1 punch in that it boosts our immune system which reduces our chance of contracting illnesses, but it also allows us to recover quicker and with less complications. So, get out there and exercise! If you’re feeling unsure of where to start or afraid of pain, know that we’re here to help! Use our Book and Appointment button or call the office at 803-831-1454 to schedule an in person or telehealth physical therapy appointment. Our Front desk is ready to help and guide you through the process. 


Brawner CA, Ehrman JK, Bole S, Kerrigan DJ, Parikh SS, Lewis BK, GindiRM, Keteyian C, Abdul-Nour K, Keteyian SJ, Maximal Exercise Capacity is Inversely Related toHospitalization Secondary to Coronavirus Disease 2019, Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2020), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.10.003.

Ryan Abarno  DPT

Clinical Director Lifestyle Physical Therapy, LLC

This Article is intended for education Purposes only. Never start an exercise program without first consulting your physician or Physical Therapist. Never Go against the medical advice of your physician, physical therapist, or healthcare provider. If you are not cleared for exercise, you need an evaluation from a physical therapist to determine the safest way to begin an exercise program.