Staying on my theme for the week, I found another interesting article on the relationship of exercise and the immune system’s infection fighting capabilities.
Like most everything, there is value in exercise to a point, then diminishing to the point of negative returns. Like alcoholic drink consumption, there is evidence that moderate drinking can be good for the body, but of course, over-drinking leads to all kinds of ills. Science is pointing toward the same indications for exercise.
From the article referenced above, this diagram explains the relationship of exercise to immune system performance well. A picture is work a thousand words.
There are evidences that certainly demonstrate that full on sedentary lifestyles invite chronic disease and immune system problems. But want about elite level athletes? Studies have found that elite athletes often keep their systems taxed at such a rate that their rate of infection by virus is only secondary to sport related injury. They push their systems to the point of overload, leading to diminishing immune system performance.
According to the referenced article, “There is a general consensus that regular bouts of short-lasting (i.e. up to 45 minutes) moderate intensity exercise is beneficial for host immune defense, particularly in older adults and people with chronic diseases.”
When it comes to COVID-19, we do know that the preponderance of deaths are the result of “acute respiratory distress syndrome”, according to Zhen Yan, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine. “Extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD) is a potent antioxidant that hunts down harmful free radicals, protecting our tissues and helping to prevent disease. Our muscles naturally make EcSOD, secreting it into the circulation to allow binding to other vital organs, but its production is enhanced by cardiovascular exercise.”
Stay strong, stay engaged in daily exercise, and your chances for staying healthy through the disease is considerable. Exercise drastically increases your chances of being part of the 80% of people that have mild-to-no symptoms and likewise decreases your chances of being in the cohort that experiences ARDS.