Covid-19 Update: Immune Health and Physical Activity

Hello again everyone:

During this pandemic, it becomes even more critical than normal to maintain a robust and resilient immune system. Additionally, we all know that co-morbidities are a major part of the driving forces behind those that get severe illness or even die. The question then becomes, how can we reduce our comorbidities and increase immune health and function? As it happens, exercise is clearly one part of that answer. Here are some quotes from the link (1) at the bottom of the blog:

“…precarious metabolic health is considered the main risk factor for the development of severe forms of COVID-19. This may occur in T2DM (type 2 diabetes), obesity and MS (multiple sclerosis autoimmune disease), possibly due to immune dysfunction in synergism with pathophysiological complications of these comorbidities.”

“Metabolic disorders lead to immune activation of tissues such as the adipose, increasing the concentration of low-grade chronic inflammation plasma markers, called metabolic inflammation or meta-inflammation.” 

“…there is evidence of lower rates of ARI (Acute Respiratory Infections) incidence, duration and intensity of symptoms and risk of mortality from infectious respiratory diseases in individuals who exercise.”

“…regular exercise practices at moderate levels favor the function of the human body’s immune surveillance against pathogens, as they stimulate an exchange of white blood cells between the circulatory system and tissues, a fact that reduces morbidity and mortality from acute respiratory disease and infections viral.”

“Regular exercise of moderate intensity has already been associated with a reduction in respiratory infections compared to sedentariness.”

Bottom Line: Continue or start a moderate level of exercise as a vital component of your wellness-based lifestyle. For me it is 3 yoga classes per week, plus some vigorous walks and a bit of calisthenics. Heavy levels of consistent exercise are shown to weaken immune function, so be careful.

For the elderly, this is critical because as we age it is well known that the component of the immune system that fights infections like Covid will diminish significantly. Guess what the research reveals?

In this sense, beneficial effects of regular physical exercise have been reported in the elderly population, including reduction in oxidative stress, improvement in immune competence and reduction in cellular changes related to immune-senescence.”


The practice of physical activities strengthens the immune system, suggesting a benefit in the response to viral communicable diseases. Thus, regular practice of adequate intensity is suggested as an auxiliary tool in strengthening and preparing the immune system for COVID-19.” 


“Sedentarism induces worse, continuous, and progressive consequences to health. On the other hand, physical activity provides benefits to health and improves low-grade systemic inflammation…and…Physical exercise is an effective (adjunctive) therapeutic strategy to mitigate the consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

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