Study: Regular Exercise Reduces Risk, Death from Pneumonia

The research team looked at a pooled analysis of all published studies to re-evaluate the relationship between regular exercise and the risk of developing pneumonia.

Those who exercise regularly can reduce their risk of developing and dying from pneumonia, according to new research from the University of Bristol.

Previous research has only suggested that regular exercise may be associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia, but other studies have mixed results with some reporting evidence of a relationship or no evidence, according to the authors of the current study.

The research team looked at a pooled analysis of all published studies to re-evaluate the relationship between regular exercise and the risk of developing pneumonia. Some of the questions asked included:

  • Is there an association between regular physical activity and future risk of pneumonia?
  • If there is an association, what is the strength and nature of the association?
  • If there is an association, is it stronger or weaker in specific groups of people?

The current study showed that people who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing pneumonia and pneumonia-related death compared to those who were the least or not physically active. In addition, the results did not seem to change by known factors that can affect pneumonia, such as age, sex, body mass index, socioeconomic status, alcohol consumption, smoking, and pre-existing diseases, according to the study authors.

"In this first-ever pooled analysis of all studies conducted on the topic, we found strong and convincing evidence of a relationship between regular exercise and reduction in a person’s risk of developing pneumonia as well as death from the disease,” said corresponding study author Setor Kunutsor, MD, in the press release. "During the winter months and with COVID-19 still circulating, developing severe pneumonia from COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases is a common occurrence.Taking regular physical activity could reduce the risk of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 especially in at-risk groups like older adults and those with underlying health conditions."

Additional work should be conducted to show whether these associations demonstrated are casual and to confirm the amount and intensity of physical activity, which is important for the prevention of pneumonia or pneumonia-related deaths, the study authors noted. The values that were gathered from this study may be biased due to regular exercise being self-reported, which also suggests future research using accelerometers or pedometers, according to the researchers.

REFERENCE

Regular exercise reduces the risk of and death from pneumonia, study suggests. University of Bristol. December 7, 2021. Accessed December 8, 2021. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2021/december/exercise-pneumonia.html