February 23, 2022

The Role Exercise Plays in COVID-19 Antibodies

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It’s no secret that regular exercise is great for your overall health, but it research is discovering even more ways that staying active can benefit you.

Now, a study published in the “Journal of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity” found that exercising after receiving a vaccine for COVID-19 or even the flu can give you even greater protection against those viruses.

Centers Health Care has the details on this study and how you can benefit from it.

Immediate Exercise Shows Results

In the study, participants had blood samples taken before becoming inoculated, two weeks after, and four weeks after. For the COVID-19 study, participants were asked to either do 90 minutes of exercise right after the shot or none. For the flu vaccine, respondents were asked to not exercise, do so for 45 minutes, or workout for 90 minutes.

90 Minutes Made a Difference

In both studies, researchers observed more antibody production in those who worked out 90 minutes after receiving the vaccine than in those who didn’t exercise. For the flu shot participants, those who exercised 45 minutes didn’t see an increase in antibodies either.

Only Moderate Exercise Needed

In case you’re an exercise novice, the good news is that you don’t need to try to run a 15K or anything to get your time in. Participants exercised at a moderate intensity—about 60 to 70% of their maximum heart rate, which varies depending on your age. This means that some people walked or ran further than others, but the important thing was the 90-minute duration.

Why Is This the Case?

Scientists don’t believe one reason is the cause. Rather, since exercise usually produces changes in the body that give a better immune response anyway, it’s believed that you get an immediate boost while your body is working to create the antibodies in response to the vaccine.

Of course, if you are feeling ill as part of a vaccine side effect, you should not do a strenuous workout, and talk to your doctor before deciding to exercise after a vaccine if you’re not already regularly exercising.

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