Can exercising help protect you against COVID-19?

“Exercise has a major effect on the immune system – it’s a fact we have known for decades,”

Multiple studies have now linked moderate exercise with decreased rates of influenza, pneumonia, and other infections, as well as chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Staying active supports your immune system in a variety of ways, including reducing inflammation, increasing the presence of innate immune cells, and positively affecting your gut microbiome, all of which support your body’s defence mechanisms. ‍

Regular exercise has also been shown to improve your ability to regulate your immune system, which may be essential for avoiding the severe symptoms of COVID-19 caused by immune system over-reactions.

Dr Claire Steves – a senior clinical lecturer at King’s College London