COVID-19, Exercise, and Your Immune System
Updated: Aug 12, 2021
If you’ve been indoors for more than a year, you’re not alone. As of its announcement as a pandemic in March 2020, COVID-19 has kept many of us indoors. Time on lockdown has led to some unhealthy habits. With many gyms closed even today, many have become sedentary.
Sure, lockdown can be a season for recovery. But, what we call recovery can feel too good—especially with Netflix, social media, and stocked pantries.
It doesn’t matter if Jiu-Jitsu gyms are reopening in your area or not. Being sedentary can cost you more than that toned abdominal section you’ve worked hard to maintain. It may also cost you your health.
At BarraFIT, we believe that exercise promotes excellent overall immunity, health, and fitness. During a pandemic, keeping a good immune system can improve your chances of survival dramatically.
If you’re wondering how exercise improves your immune system, keep reading!
Severe COVID-19 Cases—What Ties Them Together?
In reality, we aren’t too concerned about the existence of a virus. When you think about it, a million other pathogens can make us sick or even kill us. What concerns most people is the severe symptoms COVID-19 can cause and the long recovery time.
Most studies have observed that age is a major factor for developing COVID-19’s severe symptoms. According to the CDC, the risk of mortality and morbidity from COVID-19 goes up dramatically beyond the age of 50.
Now, of course, we’ll all age. So, there’s not much we can do about that factor. However, looking at co-morbidities associated with COVID-19 risk can tell us about the things we can control.
High Levels of Body Fat
Let’s start with body fat. Now, we often get confused about what a high level of body fat is. The good news is that you don’t need six-pack abs for your body fat levels to be ideal for immunity. The consensus is 15% to 18% for men, and 15% to 20% for women.
Obesity is tied with low immunity. It’s for this reason that obese patients also make up a significant portion of COVID-19 deaths and severe cases.
Also contributing to the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths are people with lifestyle illnesses. There are many types of lifestyle illnesses. For COVID-19 risk, we’re mainly talking about hypertension and diabetes type 2. These lifestyle illnesses, particularly diabetes, make people susceptible to nearly all illnesses, including COVID-19.
Low Cardiopulmonary Fitness
Oxygenation and blood circulation are major predicting factors for recovery and immunity. It’s no surprise that illnesses of the heart and lungs can make getting COVID-19 a nightmare. After all, getting COVID-19, which is a lung disease, adds to the severity of an already-present lung illness.
Can Exercise Protect You From COVID-19?
Everybody can get COVID-19. This has been established by many early studies of the virus. The real question is whether or not you are at risk for severe symptoms and death.
The research seems to point towards one obvious fact—healthy individuals don’t end up hospitalized due to COVID. Needless to say, these individuals are also not at risk for death.
Barring a healthy diet and youth, one factor seems to be present in individuals who live well despite COVID-19. The British Medical Journal found in 2021 the link between a sedentary lifestyle and COVID-19 risk. The study suggested that boosting immunity and regularly exercising are effective defenses against COVID-19.
Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are no substitute for the COVID-19 vaccine. However, they are highly effective at guarding you against developing symptoms and dying from the disease.
Exercise helps you develop better immunity as well as:
Lower blood sugar
Healthy body fat levels
Improved lung capacity
Don’t Tap Out to COVID-19
The virus is everywhere, and it’ll continue to be from the look of things. This doesn’t mean all is lost due to COVID-19.
The bulwark of a healthy immune system ensures that you survive whatever life throws—even COVID-19. With exercise and a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy a high quality of life illness-free despite the virus.
Take control of your health and life! Be a BarraFIT Athlete!
Coach Josie Rodella | BarraFIT Arizona