Regular exercise reduces the chances of dying from infectious diseases such as COVID-19 by more than a third and makes people 31% less likely to catch the virus, a major study has found.

The world’s first study into the link between exercise and COVID-19 immunity suggested people need to be doing 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or 150 minutes a week of exercise that gets them at least slightly out of breath.

Such physical activity can also make vaccines up to 40% more effective, an international team of researchers, led by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), said.

The scientists concluded that the recommended amount of exercise can result in a “31% decrease in the risk of infectious disease such as COVID-19, a 37% decrease in the risk of death as a consequence of infectious disease such as COVID-19 and an increase in the efficacy of vaccination against viral disease such as COVID-19”.

Project leader, GCU professor of health behaviour dynamics Sebastien Chastin, said they found that physical activity “strengthens the first line of defence of the human immune system and a higher concentration of immune cells”.

The “hugely significant” research “could help to cut the number people contracting COVID-19 and dying from it”.

It is, he said, “the first piece of research that proves regular physical activity protects you against infectious disease”.

He added: “We found that regular exercise where you get out of breath boosts your immunity to infectious disease by 31% and it increases the number of immune cells in the body in the first line of defence which is the mucosal layer of antibodies.

“The clear message is stay active – it’s not only good for your mental and general health but we now have the proof that it is also good for boosting your immunity.”

It has to be a regular commitment, he said, with the added benefit that “if you add physical activity to your vaccination programme it increases the potency of the vaccination“.

Russell Hope (Journalist) – original post