A study has found that people who are considered "consistently physically inactive" have a much higher likelihood of suffering worse effects if they contract Covid-19.
The study, based in the US and published by the British Journal of Sport Medicine, found these patients were over two times more likely to be hospitalised with the virus, compared to those who get 150 minutes or more of exercise each week.
Inactive patients were also 73 per cent more likely to need treatment in intensive care, and two and a half times more likely to die following their infection, according to The Irish Times.
The study noted that being consistently inactive was a stronger risk factor for severe Covid-19 outcomes than any other underlying condition or risk factor, except for age and a history of organ transplant.
The study of 48,440 adults diagnosed with Covid-19 between January and October last year found 9 per cent required hospitalisation, 3 per cent were admitted to ICU and 2 per cent died.
The researchers note the study was observational in its approach, being unable to establish the cause of the link between consistent inactivity and severe Covid-19 outcomes, while also highlighting that all participants gave their own assessment of their physical activity.
Despite this, the researchers concluded that lack of physical activity was the "strongest risk factor across all outcomes", including smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and cancer.