Are you worried about the long-term effects of COVID-19? Recent research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that following a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of developing long COVID. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the details of the research and explore how you can take steps to protect yourself from long-term COVID-19 symptoms.

The research, recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at the lifestyle habits of more than 32,000 female nurses in the Nurses’ Health Study II. The study found that women who adopted five or six healthy lifestyle factors had about half the risk of long COVID compared to those with no healthy lifestyle factors.

The six lifestyle factors that the study identified as being associated with a lower risk of long COVID included maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking, regular exercise, adequate sleep (seven to nine hours daily), high quality diet, and moderate alcohol consumption. Of these, the researchers noted that maintaining a healthy body weight and getting adequate sleep were the ones most strongly associated with lower risk of long COVID.

Even among women who developed long COVID, those with a healthier pre-infection lifestyle had 30% lower risk of having symptoms that interfered with their daily life. The authors of the study suggest that this is likely due to an unhealthy lifestyle being associated with increased risk of chronic inflammation and immune dysregulation, which have been linked with increased risk of long COVID.

So, if you want to reduce your risk of developing long COVID, start by making some simple lifestyle changes. Get enough sleep, maintain a healthy body weight, and incorporate regular exercise and a healthy diet into your daily routine. These small steps can have a big impact on your long-term health.