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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2020 Dec 11

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.11898-X


language: English

Sedentary behavior, exercise and COVID-19: immune and metabolic implications in obesity and its comorbidities

Jabeur METHNANI 1, 2, 3 , Dorra AMOR 2, 4, Nariman YOUSFI 1, 5, Ali BOUSLAMA 2, 4, Asma OMEZZINE 2, 4, Ezdine BOUHLEL 1, 3

1 High Institute of Sport and Physical Education, University of Manouba, Ksar Said, Tunis, Tunisia; 2 LR12SP11, Biochemistry Department, Sahloul University Hospital, Sousse, Tunisia; 3 LR19ES09, Laboratoire de Physiologie de l'Exercice et Physiopathologie: de l’Intégré au Moléculaire Biologie, Médecine et Santé, Faculty of Medicine of Sousse, Sousse, Tunisia; 4 Faculty of Pharmacy of Monastir, University of Monastir, Monastir, Tunisia; 5 Research Laboratory Sport performance optimisation, National Center of Medicine and sport sciences


Many reports showed a dramatic decrease in the levels of physical activity during the current pandemic of SARS-COV-2. This has substantial immune and metabolic implications, especially in those at risk or with metabolic diseases including individuals with obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Here we discuss the route from physical inactivity to immune and metabolic aberrancies; focusing on how insulin resistance could represent an adaptive mechanism to the low physical activity levels and on how such an adaptive mechanism could shift to a pathognomonic feature of metabolic diseases, creating a vicious circle of immune and metabolic aberrancies. We provide a theoretical framework to the severe immunopathology of COVID-19 in patients with metabolic diseases. We finally discuss the idea of exercise as a potential adjuvant against COVID-19 and emphasize how even interrupting prolonged periods of sitting with short time breaks of very light activity could be a feasible strategy to limit the deleterious effects of the outbreak.

KEY WORDS: Sedentary behavior; Exercise; Immunity; SARS-COV-2; Infection

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