Physical activity and COVID-19

Add physical activity to your routine

Despite the lack of accurate data on how physical activity improves the immune response against the new coronavirus, there is evidence of lower rates of Acute respiratory infections (ARIs), duration and intensity of symptoms and risk of mortality from infectious respiratory diseases in individuals who exercise at high levels appropriate. Furthermore, different studies suggest that regular physical exercise is directly related to decreased mortality from pneumonia and influenza, improvements in cardiorespiratory function, vaccine response, metabolism of glucose, lipids and insulin.

ARIs are caused by respiratory viruses and bacteria, being the most infectious disease in humans. These can be caused by more than 200 different viruses, with rhinovirus being the most common agent. In December 2019, a new coronavirus outbreak was reported in China, being called the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), spreading rapidly and infecting more than 14 million people, being declared a Health Emergency International Public Service on January 30, 2020.

Moderate-intensity physical activity is responsible for increasing the circulation of immune cells and reduces the risk of lung damage due to inflammation caused by these viruses. During regular physical exercise practices, inflammatory responses and stress hormones are decreased; regular physical activity helps to improve the immune system, while helping to prevent respiratory diseases and thus protect against infections such as COVID-19.

For the elderly population, physical activity is even more essential. Many seniors have other health issues making them more vulnerable to contracting coronavirus. Individuals who have remained active throughout their lives may have developed a possible protective factor against the development of complications caused by COVID-19. Beneficial effects of regular physical exercise have been reported in the elderly population, including reduction in oxidative stress and improvement in immune competence. Elderly individuals who maintain continued physical activity have immunity levels similar to younger individuals.

Thus, physical exercise is shown to improve immunity by doing activities of light to moderate intensity. Through exercise, there is an improvement in the response to infection in obese individuals, due to immune and cellular restoration. Although COVID-19 is not primarily a metabolic disease, there is a need to maintain metabolic control of glucose, lipid levels and blood pressure in order to prevent metabolic and cardiovascular complications, as well as to reduce the local inflammatory response and block the virus entering the cells.

The lack of physical activity as an important factor among obese patients, as it impairs the immune system. Physical activity does reduce the risk of infectious complications. Thus, regular physical exercise appears as a preventive measure in the defense of the host against viral infections such as COVID-19.

Add a low impact exercise routine such as walking to your lifestyle and see how much better you feel!

Dick Benson

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