Association of Sedentary Lifestyle with Risk of Acute and Post-Acute COVID-19 Sequelae: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Chen Zheng, Wendy Ya-Jun Huang, Feng-Hua Sun, Martin Chi-Sang Wong, Parco Ming-Fai Siu, Xiang-Ke Chen*, Stephen Heung-Sang Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Background: Evidence suggests that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) survivors could experience COVID-19 sequelae. Although various risk factors for COVID-19 sequelae have been identified, little is known about whether a sedentary lifestyle is an independent risk factor.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, 4,850 participants self-reported their COVID-19 sequelae symptoms between June and August 2022. A sedentary lifestyle, including physical inactivity (<150 min/week of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity) and prolonged sedentary behavior (≥10 h/day), before the fifth COVID-19 wave was recorded. Logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the relationships between sedentary lifestyle and risk of acute and post-acute (lasting ≥2 months) COVID-19 sequelae.

Results: A total of 1,443 COVID-19 survivors and 2,962 non-COVID-19 controls were included. Of the COVID-19 survivors, >80% and >40% self-reported acute and post-acute COVID-19 sequelae, respectively. In the post-acute phase, COVID-19 survivors who were physically inactive had a 37% lower risk of insomnia, whereas those with prolonged sedentary behavior had 25%, 67%, and 117% higher risks of at least one symptom, dizziness, and “pins and needles” sensation, respectively. For the acute phase, prolonged sedentary behavior was associated with a higher risk of fatigue, “brain fog”, dyspnea, muscle pain, joint pain, dizziness, and “pins and needles” sensation. Notably, sedentary behavior, rather than physical inactivity, was correlated with a higher risk of severe post-COVID-19 sequelae in both acute and post-acute phases.

Conclusions: Prolonged sedentary behavior was independently associated with a higher risk of both acute and post-acute COVID-19 sequelae, whereas physical inactivity played contradictory roles in COVID-19 sequelae.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Dec 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Association of Sedentary Lifestyle with Risk of Acute and Post-Acute COVID-19 Sequelae: A Retrospective Cohort Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this