Richard J. Simpson, Ph.D., FACSM | Mar 30, 2020
The human immune system is a highly intricate network of cells and molecules designed to keep the host free from infection and disease. Exercise is known to have a profound impact on the normal functioning of the immune system. Having higher age and sex-adjusted scores for cardiorespiratory fitness and performing regular exercise of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise that fall within ACSM guidelines has been shown to improve immune responses to vaccination, lower chronic low-grade inflammation, and improve various immune markers in several disease states including cancer, HIV, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cognitive impairment and obesity.
Currently, the greatest risk of COVID-19 infection is exposure. It is paramount that we find creative ways to exercise while maintaining social distancing and proper hygienic countermeasures. While exercise may not prevent us from becoming infected if exposed, it is likely that keeping active will boost our immune system to help minimize the deleterious effects of the virus, ameliorate our symptoms, expedite our recovery times and lower the likelihood that we can infect others with whom we come into contact.