16 Mar COVID-19 – Why exercise is more important than ever
Most people throughout the world are currently nervous about the potential impact of COVID-19, however, it’s now more important than ever to remind everyone that we should still consider physical activity for two key reasons.
Firstly, research does show that exercise can support our immune system, and secondly, exercise is proven to support our mental health.
Some contemporary evidence shows that leading a physically active lifestyle reduces the incidence of communicable (e.g., bacterial and viral infections) and non-communicable diseases (e.g., cancer), implying that immune competency is enhanced by regular exercise bouts.
Other recent research supported this fact by establishing that those who undertake strenuous exercise such as marathon runners tended to report less annual sick days.
“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,” explains Accredited Exercise Physiologist and CEO of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), Anita Hobson-Powell.
“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.”
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to stay safe, especially if you are training in self-isolation due to COVID-19. We are all unique and all have different physical activity needs and requirements. Trust your health with an expert,” says Anita.
Exercise Right’s Top Tips:
- 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 telehealth 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.