The case for physical exercise and improved immunity

According to this article in the US National Library of Medicine, “in April 17th 2020, the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide was over 2.2-million with more than 154,000 deaths. Government shielding orders have restricted the movement of people around the globe in an attempt to minimize the spread and devastation of this novel virus. While these countermeasures are necessary, spending prolonged periods of time in isolation and confinement, coupled with the stress and anxiety people are experiencing, are likely to lead to many other stress-related health problems. A particular concern are the restrictions these orders have placed on our daily activity and exercise routines. Regular physical activity exerts a multitude of beneficial health effects but, perhaps more importantly during this pandemic, is its ability to both enhance immune defence and mitigate the deleterious effects of stress on immunity.”

We haven’t yet seen specific scientific data on how physical activity may enhance immune responses against coronaviruses, but we do know of course that having improved levels of cardiorespiratory fitness and exercising at moderate to vigorous intensity can, to quote the National Library of Medicine “… improve immune responses to vaccination, reduce chronic low-grade inflammation and improve various immune markers in several disease states including cancer, HIV, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cognitive impairment and obesity.”

Regular exercise benefits immunity

There is research and data available that indicates that physically active people are less likely to report symptoms of upper respiratory illness. There is also evidence that exercise can protect against viral infection  – ‘flu’ and other viruses. Regular exercise benefits immunity. Maintaining some sort of physical exercise plays an important role in helping to maintain a healthy immune system.

An analysis, which was published in the international journal Exercise Immunology Review looked at the effect of exercise on our immune function. The findings suggest that exercise can help the immune system find and deal with pathogens, and in the long term, regular exercise slows down changes that happen to the immune system with ageing. It follows then that exercise can help with reducing the risk of infections.

Activity is good for you

We’re with the NHS on this – adults should do some type of physical activity every day. Any type of activity is good for you. The more you do the better. It all contributes to feeling great and supporting you to Live Life Well.

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