Cardiovascular Exercise and Protection from COVID-19 Complications

Michelle Harrison, PT
Director of Rehab
Southern Hills Skilled Nursing & Rehab

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “fluid buildup in the tiny, elastic air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs. The fluid keeps your lungs from filling with enough air, which means less oxygen reaches your bloodstream. This deprives your organs of the oxygen they need to function“. This syndrome has been noted as a major cause of death in patients with COVID-19. Research at the University of Virginia under Director Zhen Yan, states that during cardiovascular exercise a certain antioxidant (EcSOD) is released into the circulatory system. This antioxidant protects tissue and targets harmful molecules preventing disease by attaching itself to vital organs. The production of this antioxidant can be increased by increased cardiovascular exercise. Types of cardiovascular exercise include: jump rope, dancing, power walking, biking, jogging, hiking, jumping jacks, climbing stairs, stationary bike, and treadmill use. Most active and engaging activities elicit some type of cardiovascular response- anything above your resting heart rate.

Be sure to clear all exercise with your physician prior to starting any new routines.