Here’s what doctors are saying about the results of a new vaccine-related study.

Exercising has many health benefits beyond staying in shape, one of which is boosting the immune system. And as it turns out, as new ResearchExercising regularly can increase the benefits of your Covid-19 vaccine.

Researchers surveyed 200,000 men and women in South Africa, collecting data on vaccinations, covid outcomes and physical activity. They found the covid vaccine effective in protecting them from severe infection. However, it was most effective in people who exercise frequently.

How exercise can help with the effectiveness of the covid vaccine

According to the study, people who received the Johnson & Johnson covid vaccine (Ad26.COV2.S) and exercised at a high level were 3 times less likely to develop covid than those who were vaccinated but at a low level. Exercise Dr. William Leeinternationally renowned medical doctor, researcher, president/founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation and author. Eat to overcome diseaseHe explains. This study was unique because it looked at the end point of hospitalization and reported physical activity with wearables.

Researchers know that exercise can boost the immune system and respond to vaccines by creating more protective antibodies in the blood. Exercise activates virus-destroying T cells and improves the immune system lining the nasal passages where respiratory viruses enter the body, Dr. Lee said.

Regular exercise can help you sleep better at night. Sleep quality is also important for immune response.

Related: Here’s exactly how to exercise for better sleep, according to the latest research

One more point: Those who take time to exercise, especially those who exercise vigorously, are more likely to maintain better overall health, including healthy eating and lifestyle choices. Dietary choices, particularly eating foods rich in omega-3s such as blueberries, tree nuts, and seafood, have been shown to boost immunity.

We have limited data on the effect of physical activity on the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine. Dr. F. Perry Wilson, M.D, Yale Medicine. But we do know that exercise itself appears to be highly protective against adverse COVID outcomes. People who exercise frequently are less likely to be hospitalized due to Covid or die from complications of Covid.

The BMJ study provides the best evidence yet to suggest that exercise has a direct effect on the immune response to a vaccine, showing that vaccine effectiveness is higher among those who exercise more.

This is a very subtle but important point. Not surprisingly, sedentary people have worse covid outcomes—this has been shown in several previous studies. But the vaccine still needs to work in that group, Dr. Wilson added. And indeed, it reduces the amount of hospitalization by 60%. But surprisingly, it worked. better than In a more active group – in general, a group that is less likely to be treated in the hospital.

Exercise is a complex physiological state—it raises your heart rate, dilates certain blood vessels (and narrows others), and increases the levels of certain hormones (and decreases others), so there are many ways exercise can affect the immune system. Dr. Wilson explains. But it’s no surprise that the overall effect is good: exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body, and it can be great for your immune system, too.

He says there could be many reasons why exercise can make Covid vaccines more effective Justin Elpay, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU Langone Huntington Medical Group. “According to the study, “physical activity has been shown to have an effect on various levels, including the body, which improves the combination of antibodies for individuals, T-cell immune monitoring and psychosocial conditions. This shows physical activity. It encourages your body to develop a stronger immune response, thus making the vaccine more effective.

The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle

The study found that the vaccinated group who exercised at least 1 hour per week were 1.4 times less likely to be hospitalized compared to the sedentary and vaccinated participants. This showed that vaccines were 12 percent more effective than those who exercised.

“Sedentary lifestyles are associated with poor overall health defenses, including immunity. This is one explanation for the vaccine’s low effectiveness in preventing hospitalizations,” said Dr. Lee. It can increase inflammation and reduce immune responses. A little exercise can help fight these problems,” he said.

Related: Weekend warriors may reap the same benefits as daily exercisers, a new study suggests

Even short periods of exercise can change the chemicals in your blood, including hormones, cytokines and chemokines, and alter sugar metabolism with many effects, says Dr. Wilson. It’s not yet clear how those fights interact with the immune system, but it appears that something is happening to produce immune molecules, such as antibodies, when you exercise.

“One of the most important effects of exercise is improving how the body heals and resists injury and disease,” says Dr. Elbeyer. “Why vaccines might be more effective in people who exercise is multifaceted. A stronger immune response to the vaccines plays a big role.”

The amount of exercise needed per week to get the benefits

A BMJ study found a dose response for the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine in preventing hospitalisation. The people who had the greatest benefit were those who exercised at least 150 minutes a week and raised their heart rate by 70-80%, explains Dr. Lee.

But even moderate physical activity, defined as 60 to 149 minutes per week, was beneficial in reducing the risk of hospitalization.

The bottom line: In this study, certain types of exercise were better than none for benefiting from Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccines, and the more people exercised, the more protection they gained. This suggests there are steps people can take to increase the effectiveness of other vaccines, Dr. Lee adds.

“The BMJ study suggests that there’s a dose-response relationship here. This means that even a little exercise can lead to some benefits, and more exercise can lead to greater benefits,” says Dr. Wilson. Exercise and try to do a little more when you can comfortably do that. “

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