Well-trained teenagers did better in later years of life.

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Men who were well-trained in their late teens did not need hospital care as often because of covid-19. This is shown by research conducted at the University.

Men who performed well in a physical test in their late teens were more likely to avoid hospital care when they received Covid-19 during a pandemic until 50 years later.

The study by the University is based on the Swedish conscription register, which contains data on more than 1.5 million Swedes who enlisted between 1969 and 2005. Almost all of these men then passed both the cycling test and the endurance test. About 2,500 men on the enlistment register later required hospital treatment for covid-19 in the spring of 2020.

Effect on fitness and strength

For the study, the researchers divided the men into three groups based on their performance in fitness and endurance tests. The data was coordinated with the hospital register, the intensive care register and the death register. The results indicate a clear relationship between physical fitness and strength in adolescents and the risk of needing hospital care due to carrier infection, between 15 and 50 years after lifespan.

– At the population level, we see that both good fitness and good muscle strength in late adolescence are protective factors in parasitic infection. The risk of death in the spring of 2020 was half that if you were in good shape during the haul, compared to those who were in the worst shape. In the case of those who were strong in recruitment, we see a similar protective effect, a doctoral student at the Academy at the University, who is the lead author of the study.

However, because the oldest men in the study were not yet 70 years of age, carrier deaths were rare in the study.

Protective effect regardless of overweight. The recruitment register also contains data on the height and weight of young men – Several previous studies have shown that obesity is a risk factor for severe covid-19, but we see that good fitness and strength are a protective factor for everyone, even for men with obesity or overweight, says Professor Lauren Lissner, senior co-author of the study.

However, the length of men taking part in the study may be linked to the risk of severe cowboy infection.

– The longer the men were, the greater the risk that they needed advanced care when they received cartilage, but the increase in risk per centimeter is very small. Length is also a factor that we have no influence on, and at the same time we can improve our fitness and strength.

Strengthens the immune system

There are already many studies that have shown the protective effect of good physical condition on various diseases, including infections. It was found that physical activity strengthens the immune system and reduces the tendency to inflammation. It is also believed that good fitness during adolescence is associated with better living habits and physical activity for the rest of life.

– It is interesting that the condition that men suffered from so many years ago may be associated with a reduced risk of a serious infectious disease. Currently, young people are becoming increasingly sedentary and there is a risk of causing serious problems in the long term, including reduced immunity to future viral pandemics. Children and young people must have a good opportunity to move.


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