A recent research study by a UK-based firm has suggested that slow walkers are at a high risk of severe COVID-19 regardless of whether they are obese or not.
According to the study published on July 11 by the UK Biobank, which is yet to be reviewed, having higher body biomass also increases the risk of severe cases of the dreaded respiratory disease.
Slow walkers are presumed to have other underlying medical conditions that make their movement difficult which in turn increases the chances of exhibiting severe COVID-19 symptoms.
“Slow walkers had the highest risk of severe COVID-19 regardless of their obesity status, with normal weight, overweight or obese slow walkers all having over twice the risk of severe COVID-19 compared to normal weight brisk walkers,” read the research report.
To arrive at their conclusion, the researchers analyzed data on 414,201 participants in the UK Biobank which tracks people’s health over many years, to determine if there was a correlation between walking pace, obesity, and COVID-19.
“As of June 20, 2020, there were 972 cases of severe COVID-19 that had occurred within the cohort,” the scientists wrote.
Whereas obesity was found to be one of the key risk factors for COVID-19, the walking pace was also found to influence the risk of contracting the disease.
The research indicated that people with normal body weight who usually walk at a slow pace of less than 4.8km per hour had high chances of developing severe COVID-19 than those with similar weight who walk 6.4km per hour.
Further, the death rate is high among individuals with a combination of a low Body Mass Index (BMI) and a slow walking pace.
The analysis was based on the understanding that the manner and speed of walking are often used to determine the physical fitness of an individual and to predict the risk of future disease, disability, and death.
“Walking pace is a complex functional activity, with many factors influencing paces, such as motor control, musculoskeletal health, cardiorespiratory fitness, habitual activity levels, cognition, mental health, and environmental factors.
“These factors together may act to give individuals greater resilience to SARS-CoV-2 infection and therefore a lower risk of severe disease,” read the report.