HealthAre Physical Fitness and COVID-19 Immunity Connected?

Are Physical Fitness and COVID-19 Immunity Connected?

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A researcher at the University of New Mexico wants to know if exercise helps fight off COVID, and is recruiting folks to help.

Michael Deyhle, assistant professor in the Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences at the University of New Mexico, will study whether exercise habits or physical fitness levels give people who are vaccinated more immunity against the coronavirus.

He’s looking for at least 60 participants between ages 18 and 65 who’ve received the mRNA Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations in the past six months.

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Deyhle said some studies have shown physical activity can produce beneficial antibodies, and that is the question he wants to answer.

“Does being physically fit or physically active enhance your immune response, or make your immune system work better when you get the vaccine, so that you’re more protected in the future if you’re to encounter them?” Deyhle wondered.

Deyhle pointed out the study participants will be asked about their physical activity and given tests for aerobic capacity and muscle strength. They will also have their body-fat percentage measured and provide a blood sample to determine the concentration of the antibodies produced from the vaccine.

Deyhle believes vaccination is one of the most effective life-saving interventions of modern medicine, but he noted its effectiveness can depend on age, genetic factors and other variables.

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“Everyone responds differently to vaccination,” Deyhle cautioned. “And some people have a very good response and a very robust response and some people just don’t respond as well, and there are a lot of factors that may play into the reason for that variability.”

He added studies of some vaccines have shown exercise can enhance the body’s immune response, but there is no definitive work on whether this applies to COVID-19 vaccines.

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