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Exercise and COVID-19

March 17, 2020

Due to the current situation unfolding through the globe we thought it’s important to remind everyone why remaining physically active is a good idea.

Two reasons – exercise has been shown to support our immune system and also proven to support our mental health.

Some recent research has shown that leading a physically active lifestyle can reduce incidence of communicable, eg. bacterial and viral infection, and non-communicable, eg. Cancer, diseases. This implies that immune competency is enhanced by regular physical activity. It’s also been reported that those who undertake strenuous exercise such as marathon runners take less sick days through the year.

Accredited Exercise Physiologist and CEO of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), Anita Hobson-Powell explains –

“We all understand that exercise supports our physical health, however, during times of crisis such as this, it is the first activity we tend to ignore. Being active can not only keep us healthy, it can also help us fight off infection. Exercise is also unique in that it can boost our mental health, and during this anxious time it’s more important than ever to keep our minds clear and focused.”

“When it comes to exercise, we are also not just talking about young people. In 2018, a study by University of Birmingham and King’s College London found that 125 non-smoking amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 still had the immune systems of young people.”

“What is important to understand, however, is that balance and undertaking the right exercise is important for each individual. In some instances, excessive exercise can reduce your immune system for a period of time. Therefore, as we always promote – exercise right for who you are and speak to a trained professional.”

Some tips to exercising during the current situation –

  • Be aware of your own health. If you do have symptoms of COVID-19, please follow the Department of Health’s directions and refrain from exercise.
  • If you are nervous about attending a physical gym or exercise facility, contact the provider to understand what measures are in place for hygiene.
  • Talk to your exercise provider if tele-health is an option for you if you live with a chronic condition.
  • If you are in self-isolation, this doesn’t not mean you have to stop exercising. In fact, this is a great time to move more and keep your body and mind healthy.
  • Trust an accredited exercise professional who has the expertise and education to help you stay fit and healthy, and can work with you based on your current health and existing conditions.


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