While there is no strong evidence that it prevents people from getting COVID-19, exercise may help to limit the risk of fatal coronavirus complications.
More research is needed, but regular moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise appears to assist in building up our immune systems, thus leading to a more robust fight against COVID-19.
Some 3 to 17 percent of those hospitalized for COVID-19 management could develop a deadly case of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), also known as respiratory distress, according to a study by Zhen Yan, director of research at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. This complication often leads to patients being put on a ventilator, a machine that assists with breathing and supplies oxygen to the body.
Regular exercise could limit the severity of ARDS or even prevent it altogether by increasing the immune system’s ability to combat illness. Yan found that during cardiovascular exercise, our skeletal muscle boosts production of an antioxidant — extracellular superoxide dismutase — that is efficient in preventing disease.
Meanwhile, information from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) further suggests the importance of regular cardiovascular exercise.
ACSM has found that our bodies produce immune boosts by mobilizing millions of cells during whole-body cardio exercises. As blood circulates, it carries these boosts throughout our organs, where the immune cells look for foreign, potentially infection-carrying cells to fight.
“Traffic controller” cells, called cytokines, also are activated by even moderate cardiovascular exercise. These cells tell antioxidants where to go and what to fight.
The ACSM recommends:
PT can help you achieve exercise goals in a variety of ways, such as:
Written by Hannah Bohl, PT, DPT, OCS, Centerton AR Center