The COVID-19 pandemic and physical activity

Jeffrey A. Woods, Noah T. Hutchinson, Scott K. Powers, William O. Roberts, Mari Carmen Gomez-Cabrera, Zsolt Radak, Istvan Berkes, Anita Boros, Istvan Boldogh, Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Hélio José Coelho-Júnior, Emanuele Marzetti, Ying Cheng, Jiankang Liu, J. Larry Durstine, Junzhi Sun, Li Li Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The SARS-CoV-2-caused COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a devastating threat to human society in terms of health, economy, and lifestyle. Although the virus usually first invades and infects the lung and respiratory track tissue, in extreme cases, almost all major organs in the body are now known to be negatively impacted often leading to severe systemic failure in some people. Unfortunately, there is currently no effective treatment for this disease. Pre-existing pathological conditions or comorbidities such as age are a major reason for premature death and increased morbidity and mortality. The immobilization due to hospitalization and bed rest and the physical inactivity due to sustained quarantine and social distancing can downregulate the ability of organs systems to resist to viral infection and increase the risk of damage to the immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal systems and the brain. The cellular mechanisms and danger of this “second wave” effect of COVID-19 to the human body, along with the effects of aging, proper nutrition, and regular physical activity, are reviewed in this article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalSports Medicine and Health Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Brain
  • COVID-19
  • Cardiovascular
  • Immune
  • Muscle
  • Nutrition
  • Physical inactivity
  • Respiratory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • General Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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