Does Exercise Make Vaccines More Effective
Some research suggests that:
- Exercising before vaccination can help improve the bodys immune response.
- Exercising regularly can help boost immune system function.
- Even one short exercise session can prompt better immune function.
Another review of 20 studies on exercise and vaccine responses also determined that both working out regularly and before vaccination can help improve the bodys vaccine response.
There is no specific data for how exercise may impact the COVID-19 vaccine, lead study author Kate M. Edwards, PhD, associate professor of exercise and sport sciences at the University of Sydney, tells Verywell. But research has shown that exercising15 minutes, moderate intensity, resistance exercisebefore receiving other vaccines is safe, might actually reduce some of the symptoms of vaccine reactions, and boost your immune response, she says.
The reason, notes Edwards, is that exercise activates your immune system, bringing more cells into the blood. She cites an example of exercising the arm muscles where you received the vaccine to combat soreness. Those muscle cells are releasing immune molecules that could help the immune system identify and respond more efficiently, she adds.
Should You Bike After Getting The Covid Vaccine
As of 9:11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 17, 18,994,066 COVID-19 vaccination doses have been administered in Canada. The number of Canadians finally getting their first jab has rapidly increased and many are preparing to get their first dose in the coming days.
If youre a cyclist, youre probably excited to get your injections so you can get back to riding with groups and watching or participating in events. Youre probably also thinking about how you will change your cycling plans when its your turn to get the first and second dose. Heres what you can expect in terms of side effects and how that should play into your riding schedule.
Leading up to your appointment
The good news is, you dont need to change your training plans in the days before you get your first or second dose. According to Dr. Joshua Posen, M.D., M.P.H., who is an infectious disease fellow at the University of Toronto, there is no need to adjust the intensity of exercise leading up to the appointment.
The day of the vaccination
After getting their vaccine, Dr. Posen recommends cyclists take it easy for the rest of the day. The expected inflammatory response of the immune system starts within two to four hours after vaccination, he says. Its hard to predict how it might make someone feel.
For the day after vaccination Id say just listen to your body, says Dr. Posen. If you feel fine, then go for it, but I wouldnt push yourself or make any big plans.
First versus second dose
How Do I Know If I Need Expert Help
There are two ways to look at this one: the immediate response, then how you feel over time.
You know how youre told to wait outside for 15 minutes after every vaccine? This is to ensure you dont experience an allergic reaction, and is the first case in which youd need expert help, Dr Robinson explains.
If you walk out of your vaccination centre feeling on top of the world , but you end up developing new symptoms that worsen or persist, this is another instance in which you need to seek medical help. According to Dr Hassan, these symptoms could include:
- A headache
- A persistent fever
- A rash
Otherwise, if youre only struggling to return to normal levels of exercise, Dr Hassan recommends seeking a referral to an NHS Sports & Exercise Medicine Clinic. There are a number of NHS services across the UK, as well as other private options, she adds.
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Influenza Vaccine Research Participants
A total of 20 participants were enrolled in the monovalent Influenza A/California/7/09 H1N1 vaccine experiment, and 16 were included in the final analysis . A total of 28 participants were enrolled in the trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine experiment, and 26 were included in the final analysis . Individuals were excluded if they were: taking medications for psychological disorders or medications that altered immune variables of interest had any medical condition that may directly impact immune outcomes, including autoimmune disorders or were unable to perform the prescribed exercise safely. Participants were included if they had been exercising regularly for at least the previous six months and met the criteria set forth for moderate-intensity exercise in accordance with American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines . In the first experiment, participants were immunized with a monovalent vaccine of a novel strain , hereafter referred to as monovalent. In a second experiment, participants were vaccinated with the trivalent influenza vaccine , termed seasonal vaccine. All participants received the current influenza Vaccine Information Statement and were asked to report any concerning side effects to study personnel. The Institutional Review Board approved all procedures at Iowa State University.
/5exercises That Should Be Avoided
According to the officials, physical activities such as swimming, running, cycling should be avoided for one week after vaccination. Additionally, strenuous exercises such as heavy weight lifting, jogging, tennis, badminton, basketball should all be avoided. Post one week of vaccination, one can resume with easy stretches, walking and other household chores.
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Previously The Singapore Guidelines Recommended A Brief Break From Exercise Only After Receiving Both Doses Of The Vaccine
Singapores Health Ministry has urged its residents to avoid strenuous exercise for a week each after receiving the first and second dose of all mRNA Covid-19 vaccines. The country has updated its health guidelines for vaccine beneficiaries, which earlier advised a 12-24 hour break from exercise following the shot.
Previously, the guidelines recommended a brief break from exercise only after receiving both doses of the vaccine.
While the advisory applied to all those seeking vaccinations, it focussed particularly on adolescents and men below the age of 30. We recommend that everyone, in particular adolescents and younger men, aged younger than 30, avoid strenuous physical activity, such as intense exercise, for one week after the first and second doses, the Ministrys updated guidelines read.
Rehabilitation Takes An Unpredictable Path
James Dunleavy, PT, DPT, spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association and director of rehabilitation services at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in New Jersey, has found that even extremely healthy people with relatively mild cases have had to slowly ease back into their fitness routine.
“The best way I can say it is that whether they’ve had a mild, moderate, or severe case of COVID, there’s no linear progression for their recovery,” Dunleavy tells Verywell.
Dunleavy says that many of his patients report feeling additional COVID-19 related effects such as coughing or shortness of breath while actively exercising. Still, after they are done, their regular breathing is much better. However, their breathing clarity and oxygenation’s progression resemble two steps forward and one step back rather than an ever progressing climb.
“It’s enormously frustrating that we can’t say to these patients that they will feel better in six months,” Dunleavy says. “Because I would just be lying. I don’t know that.”
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What Does The Cdc Say About Exercise And The Covid Vaccination
The CDC doesn’t offer any official guidance on exercise, either before or after your COVID-19 vaccine. They do say that you can use or exercise your arm after you get your vaccine to reduce possible pain and soreness where you got the shot.
Its not entirely clear why there is no official advice on exercise, but its likely because the clinical trials for the vaccines did not advise participants on exercise, Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease physician and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells Verywell.
When To See A Doctor For Vaccine Side Effects
Most side effects from vaccinesheadache, muscle/joint pain, tiredness, fever, and pain where the injection was givenare mild and short lived. Allergic reactions are extremely rare . But get immediate medical attention if youre having any of the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Rash or hives on your body
- Fast heartbeat
In the end, dont forgo a vaccination because you think it might affect your workout schedule or your physical performance.
Just because you may be young, healthy, and physically fit does not mean a virus like COVID cannot make you seriously sick, Dr. Shaffner says. We see it every year with the flu and now were seeing it with COVIDyoung, strong people being brought into the hospital and the intensive care unit . Just being healthy is not enough to ward off a virus. Get your vaccinations.
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Can Exercise After Vaccines Improve Immune Response
If exercise doesnt hurt your immune response to a vaccine, can it actually help it? The data is mixed, and the results can vary depending on the age and gender of study subjects, which vaccines they get, and the type, duration, and timing of the exercise they performed.
For example, one study looking at healthy young adults found that those who performed 15 minutes of exercise with resistance bands prior to receiving the pneumococcal vaccine had an enhanced antibody response. But the response was only significant in those who received a half-dose of the vaccine, versus a full one. Other research published in the journal Frontiers of Immunology found that a single bout of exercise can enhance the immune response to vaccinations in both young and older study subjects. And researchers from the University of Sydney recommend performing moderate-intensity exercise or resistance exercise immediately before or after getting a flu shot to help activate your immune systems response to the vaccine.
Exercise likely increases blood and lymphatic flow, which helps spread the immune cells that are produced post vaccination, explains Ramsey Shehab, MD, a family practitioner and sports medicine specialist at Henry Ford Health Systems.
If exercise can give your immune response to a vaccine a leg up, whats the best way to do it? Theres no formal consensus.
Return To Activity Very Slowly And Gradually:
People who run marathons don’t like sitting on the couch. I can tell you from first-hand experience, Metzl said. They want to run. They want to be active. It’s been their whole life and their whole lifestyle.
I’m not saying don’t do any activity at all because that has a whole other host of health problems.
An otherwise healthy COVID-19 patient who recovered at home and has been asymptomatic for a week can begin resuming physical activity at 50% of his or normal intensity and volume, Metzl and his colleagues wrote in The Musculoskeletal Journal of Hospital for Special Surgery.
They recommended the 50/30/20/10 rule when coming back: Reduce the normal exercise load by at least 50% for the first week, then by 30%, 20%, and 10% in the following three weeks if comfortable at the end of each period. That would mean taking at least a month to return to a pre-COVID-19 exercise routine.
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Why Is Singapore Asking People To Avoid Exercise After The Covid Vaccine
The updated guidelines were based on reports of young men experiencing heart problems after receiving the shot. Most recently, a 16-year-old boy suffered from cardiac arrest while lifting weights on July 3, days after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The preliminary diagnosis of his condition is an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Clinical and laboratory tests are in progress to understand the underlying cause, the Health Ministry explained on Monday. This will include a thorough consideration of whether there was acute severe myocarditis, which is severe inflammation of the heart muscles affecting the heart function, as a possible diagnosis.
Apart from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Singapore is also offering the jab developed by Moderna.
As of June 30, Singapores Health Science Authority has received reports of heart problems experienced by at least 12 people following their vaccinations. A majority of these cases involved men aged 30 and below, Bloomberg reported.
The advisory comes based on emerging data, which suggests a slight risk of myocarditis and pericarditis associated with Covid vaccines.
During this time, the vaccinated persons should seek medical attention promptly if they develop chest pain, shortness of breath or abnormal heartbeats. All doctors should also be vigilant around such clinical presentations after vaccination, the advisory stated.
What forms of exercise should be avoided according to Singapores Health Ministry?
Vaccines And Your Immune Response
Vaccines help initiate immunity to a certain germ, such as a virus. Because they contain weakened or inactive parts of a virus or bacterium, vaccines trigger the immune system to create antibodies and T-cellstwo weapons the immune system uses to recognize and fight foreign invaders. The stronger your immune response to that vaccine, the better protection it offers.
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Light Arm Exercises Can Help With Injection Site Pain
The day of both doses, Bernstein did pullups, which alleviated his only symptom: a sore arm. While pullups may be too intense for people who don’t already do them regularly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does advise people keep their arms active to help deal with site pain. A cool, wet washcloth and over-the-counter painkiller may help too.
“I believe there is a mental health component to getting a vaccine or any type of medical intervention. Exercise is a potent positive mental health coping mechanism. I believe that continuing to keep moving before and after the vaccine is important both for physical and mental health benefits,” Bernstein said.
Paying Attention To Side Effects
Many people report mild side effects after the first dose of a two-dose vaccine. However, one study showed that about 50% of people experienced moderate-to-severe side effects after their second dose.
It is important to note that most side effects are normal, as they are the bodys way of responding to the vaccine.
In people who experience side effects, the extent of these effects will determine whether it is possible to exercise shortly after the first dose. A person may consider waiting several hours, or even 12 days, after their second dose.
In very rare cases, a person may experience an allergic reaction to the vaccine. Allergic reactions typically begin of vaccination. People with a history of allergies may, therefore, choose to rest and observe their symptoms after getting the shot.
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Is It Safe To Exercise After The Covid
Working out when you feel nauseous, fatigued, headachy or have muscle pain is never advised, whether thats through illness, a hangover, a vaccine or any other reason. As for whether your workout impact your vaccine? Theres no known evidence for exercise to impact the effectiveness of the vaccine, says Dr Hull.
Exercise May Reduce Side Effects
A small 2019 study involving 46 participants analyzed the effects of moderate intensity exercise on older adults receiving a flu vaccine. The researchers found that this exercise actually lessened the severity of vaccine side effects.
However, more research is necessary to understand how exercise may influence COVID-19 vaccine side effects.
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Slowly Increase Workout Intensity
If your recovery is on track and your body responds well to low intensity workouts for a couple of days, you may be tempted to jump up to 100%. Adding too much intensity too fast, too soon is never a good day wait a bit until you do high intensity interval training.
Add more workout volume gradually: bump to 60% first, of for 75% in the next week.
Why Does Exercise Increase Antibodies After Getting A Covid Or Flu Vaccine
Researchers also looked to see if just 45 minutes of exercise post-vaccination would result in similar immunity boosts, ultimately noting that it did not. Moving forward, theyre interested in seeing what a full hour of exercise post-vaccination can do.
As far as an explanation for these findings, the authors believe there are a number of possible factors at play. To start, when we exercise, blood and lymph flow increases, which means greater immune cell circulation. As those immune cells make their way around the body, theyre that much more likely to detect a threat.
Data collected during rodent trials also suggest a specific protein produced in response to exercise may aid in the creation of virus-specific antibodies and T- cells.
But a lot more research is needed to answer the why and how. There are so many changes that take place when we exercise metabolic, biochemical, neuroendocrine, circulatory. So, theres probably a combination of factors that contribute to the antibody response we found in our study, Prof. Kohut concludes.
Individuals assessed for this study are still being tracked up to six months post-vaccination. Researchers are anxious to determine where antibody levels will be at by that point. Moreover, another study focusing on the effect of exercise on booster shots is already underway.
The study is published in Brain Behavior and Immunity.
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Why It’s Best To Take It Easy
Anthony S. Lubinsky, MD, clinical associate professor in the department of medicine at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, says that approaching recovery in this way offers plenty of room for accommodation.
“If a patient comes in for an evaluation and their vital signs look good, and there’s no acute or chronic condition, they could probably start back to their prior level of activity,” Lubinsky tells Verywell. “Usually, I would recommend that they take it easy. If you’re a runner, maybe walk part of your route for a while and if that feels good, then increase your efforts.”
In a few weeks, Lubinsky says, most people with mild cases of COVID-19 should be back to their normal fitness routine. That routine is important for staving off other potential problems related to inactivity after COVID-19, such as blood clots. Regular motion can help deter blood clots from forming.
“I would put out a plea for normalcy,” Lubinsky says. “Most people recovering from COVID-19 are not going to be able to do what they did before immediately, but they should try to get there. It’s a mistake to be immobile for long periods of time. It’s also a mistake to go out and do really intense activity before you’re ready.”