Despite the fact that there is no medically recognised therapy for Long COVID, a recent study reveals that exercise may be able to disrupt the vicious loop of inflammation that can lead to diabetes and depression months after a person has recovered from the virus. The research was published in the journal ‘Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews.’
“We know that Long COVID causes depression, and we know that it can increase blood glucose levels to the point where people develop diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition common among people with type 1 diabetes. Exercise can help. Exercise takes care of the inflammation that leads to elevated blood glucose and the development and progression of diabetes and clinical depression,” said Candida Rebello, PhD, a research scientist at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
It’s unclear how many people suffer from Long COVID. But estimates range from 15 per cent to 80 per cent of the people infected. Based on those figures, it’s possible that as many as 1 million of Louisiana’s residents suffer from Long COVID.
Long COVID causes what the Centers for Disease Control describes as “a constellation of other debilitating symptoms” including brain fog, muscle pain, and fatigue that can last for months after a person recovers from the initial infection.
“For example, a person may not get very sick from COVID-19, but six months later, long after the cough or fever is gone, they develop diabetes,’ Dr Rebello said.
Exercising is one option. In their paper, ‘Exercise as a Moderator of Persistent Neuroendocrine Symptoms of COVID-19,’ Dr Rebello and her co-authors explain their idea.
Dr. Rebello explained, “You don’t have to run a mile or even walk a mile at a fast pace.” “Walking slowly is also a form of exercise. In a perfect world, you’d workout for 30 minutes. If you just have 15 minutes to spare, split it into two 15-minute sessions. Do it even if it’s only for 15 minutes once a day. The most essential thing is to give it your all. It makes no difference where you start. You can progressively increase your activity level to the suggested level.”
“We know that physical activity is a key component to a healthy life. This research shows that exercise can be used to break the chain reaction of inflammation that leads to high blood sugar levels, and then to the development or progression of type 2 diabetes,” said Pennington Biomedical Executive Director John Kirwan, PhD, who is also a co-author of the paper.