Running, stretching or dancing: Exercise could improve the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine, a new study shows – National | Globalnews.ca

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Both vaccination and physical activity have been considered helpful when it comes to reducing the risk of serious COVID-19 infections, and now a new study has found that regular exercise could improve the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Compared with those vaccinated with low levels of exercise, vaccinated individuals with moderate and high levels of physical activity had (1.4 and 2.8 times, respectively) less risk of being hospitalized with COVID, found the study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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“This research adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the growing benefits of regular physical activity,” Jon Patricios, the study’s principal investigator and professor of sports and exercise medicine in the College of Health Sciences at the University of California, told Global. University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. News.

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The study involved nearly 200,000 South African participants over the age of 18 categorized into low, moderate and high activity groups to test the hypothesis that exercise is an “effect modifier” in the relationship between vaccination and hospitalization.

“What this research tells us is that getting a COVID-19 vaccine, or a second, third or fourth COVID vaccine, in addition to being active is good for your health and will hopefully contribute to better outcomes if you do get COVID-19. . Jennifer Jackson, a registered nurse and assistant professor at the University of Calgary School of Nursing, told Global News.

And, according to Jackson, every little amount of physical activity counts.

“Physical activity can be anything you can afford,” he said. “For some people, it might be doing some stretches in the wheelchair. For other people, it might be a bike ride every morning.”

“But I think the important thing is to move your body in a way that feels right to you.”


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It’s also important to remember that physical activity isn’t always accessible to everyone and isn’t just a matter of “willpower,” according to Jackson.

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“Physical activity is affected by our environment,” he said. “If people are working three jobs because they’re fighting inflation right now, I appreciate that. It may not be easy and I would never say that they have to take on something like a 10km race plan.”

But incorporating physical activity into your daily routine, whether it’s playing with your kids or dancing in your room to your favorite song, is a good way to improve your quality of life, Jackson said.

“Maybe you’re watching the hockey game and every time the commercials come on, you stand up and do a stretch or a yoga pose or a couple of squats,” he said.

“I would encourage people to be kind to themselves and just do what they can.”

Physical activity in the study was tracked by minutes, step count and heart rate data through wearable devices.

Those with low activity levels performed less than an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity at least per week.

Participants with moderate levels of physical activity engaged in anywhere from an hour to nearly 2.5 hours of exercise per week, and those in the high-activity group exercised 2.5 hours or more per week.

For those in the low-activity group, the vaccine’s effectiveness against COVID-19-related hospitalization was 60 percent. The vaccine effectiveness of the moderate activity groups, by comparison, was 72.1 percent and 85.8 percent for the high activity group.

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This implies that, despite receiving the same vaccine, those who exercised the most were almost 26% less likely to be hospitalized from the virus compared to those who spent less time being physically active.


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According to the World Health Organization, adults ages 18 to 64 should engage in at least 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week to see health benefits for your heart, body and mind .

“This study validated the WHO criteria,” Patricios said.

According to the Government of Canada, physical activity can reduce the risk of more than 25 chronic conditions in adults aged 18 to 64, including stroke, colon cancer, osteoporosis, hypertension, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

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The government also recommends at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week to achieve health benefits.

In addition to physical activity, other non-pharmacological interventions have also been used during the pandemic to help control the spread of the virus, such as physical distancing, wearing masks, and hand sanitizing.

And, according to the study, the most effective non-pharmacological intervention seems to be confinement.

The study concludes that physical activity “improves” the effectiveness of the vaccine against severe outcomes from the virus and also said it should be encouraged through a broader public health message.

“Physical activity is the most cost-effective intervention in the prevention of noncommunicable and communicable diseases,” Patricios said.

And, when it comes to including physical activity in COVID-19 messaging, Jackson agrees.

“I think that would be really helpful,” he said.

“But right now, from a public health perspective, my main goal would be to encourage people to get vaccinated.”

— With archives from The Canadian Press


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