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Long COVID and Wellness

Exercise may prevent new-onset diabetes and improve depression.

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Graphic of virus tied to a person to represent long COVID

Here’s more good news about the value of exercise in relation to the pandemic: Exercise may counter psychological and metabolic aspects of prolonged stress experienced by people with “long COVID,” as reported in Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews (2022; 50 [2], 65–72).

Up to 80% of people who have recovered from COVID-19 experience a condition known as long COVID, which can include fatigue, muscle pain, brain fog, depression, anxiety, lingering inflammation, insulin resistance and/or diabetes. Pennington Biomedical Research Center researchers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hypothesize that since exercise can reduce inflammation, improve mental health and increase insulin sensitivity, it may provide an effective method to counter long COVID symptoms.

“We know that physical activity is a key component to a healthy life. This research shows that exercise can be used to break the chain reaction of inflammation that leads to high blood sugar levels, and then to the development or progression of type 2 diabetes,” said study author John Kirwan, PhD, executive director of the Center.

Future research may identify the best modes and volume of exercise to address lingering COVID-19 symptoms.

See also: Is There a D-fence Against COVID-19?

What Do You Think?

What, if any, impact is long COVID having on your clients and your fitness business? For example, many formerly active people are struggling to resume exercise programs. Are former clients requesting help? If yes, how are you supporting them? Tell us about your experiences.

We want to hear from you! Email executive editor Joy Keller at [email protected].

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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