Hope you all are doing well and following all measures in the context of Covid as gradually we have begun moving out of our homes after long!
It’s just the beginning and there is no access to gyms and sports clubs but this does not mean people should stop exercising!
And did you know regular exercise actually benefits our immune system?
A recent study at the University of Bath revealed regular, daily exercise at a time plays an important role in helping to maintain a healthy immune system which is much needed especially in these crucial times of Covid.
-if performed in short term, causes natural killer cells and neutrophils (our body’s first immune cells) to respond to infections profoundly.
-if performed in long term, has profound effect on adaptive (or memory) immunity in identifying and responding to pathogens and cancer as we age.
It has been thought since last few decades that strenuous and prolonged exercise such as running marathon or ultra-marathon temporarily suppresses immune function but there is limited evidence to support it.
Also, these effects have been seen in athletes and linked to psychological stress, intensified training and inadequate food intake during training, insufficient sleep, inadequate dietary intake of micro and macro nutrients along with hydration.
Exercise, in itself, does not seem to supress immunity. Generally, the greatest risk factor for a bacterial or viral infection is exposure at mass gatherings, probably via exposure to crowds or by touching surfaces that may have become contaminated.
So, these findings emphasizes upon the present norms of social distancing, minimising gatherings and travelling and exercising at home or in isolation if exercising outdoors. Make sure you maintain a good personal hygiene, follow all measures to prevent infection during and after exercise especially considering the present Covid circumstances.
How much.. to get the benefits?
-Moderate intensity aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging or cycling with the aim of achieving about 150 minutes of exercise per week is recommended.
-Longer, more vigorous exercise would not be harmful but should be avoided if the capacity of an individual to exercise with vigorous intensity is restricted due to health condition or disability. ‘Something is better than nothing’ is the message!
-Strengthening exercise also has shown benefits for maintaining muscles which also helps movement.
Emphasis upon maintaining regularity in exercise routine is given to get tremendously positive effect on our health and well-being, both today and for future.
So, are you ready to give your body its best chance at fighting-off infections by exercising regularly?
Also, do not forget to get a good amount of sleep and maintain a healthy diet to maintain energy balance that is used during exercise.
Don’t forget to share it with your loved ones to encourage them to begin with or resume an exercise routine.
Dr Rajashree Lad
MPT, CAFST, CFMP, COMT Consultant Orthopedic Physiotherapist