Regular physical activity could boost effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines

Hitting the gym may not be on your to-do list after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, but new research suggests that regular physical activity may boost the vaccine’s effectiveness. A person’s level of protection against SARS-CoV-19, the virus that causes COVID-2, increases with increased physical activity, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The study also found evidence that regular physical activity can help mitigate “the consequences of severe COVID-19 infection, reducing the risk of hospitalization, intensive care, assisted ventilation or death,” says a press release about the study.

As part of the study, the researchers reviewed anonymized medical records and wearable activity tracker data from healthcare workers between February and October 2021. Participants were categorized according to their average physical activity level. Researchers found that fully vaccinated participants with high levels of weekly physical activity (150 minutes or more per week) were less likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated participants with low levels of physical activity (less than 60 minutes per week) nearly three times.

“The findings suggest a possible dose-response association of higher levels of physical activity with greater vaccine effectiveness,” the researchers wrote in the study. “This confirms the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for regular physical activity that 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week has meaningful health benefits in preventing serious disease and, in this case, infection. Sexual viral infection.

Because the study was an observational study, the researchers were unable to determine cause, and the results may not apply to other virus variants or types of COVID-19, such as amicron. The researchers aren’t entirely sure how physical activity enhances vaccination, but think it “could be a combination of enhanced antibody levels, improved T-cell immune surveillance, and psychosocial factors.

The researchers added: “Public health messages should encourage physical activity as an easy, cost-effective way to increase the effectiveness of vaccines to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 disease requiring hospitalization.