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Here is something you can do to increase your immunity and decrease the severity of COVID symptoms.

I’m Shelley from Miami Physiotherapy and Lakelands Physiotherapy and I’m going to explain some new research from the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Since the beginning of COVID19, the scientists have been researching what factors decrease the severity of the disease. They knew that people with underlying diseases or chronic illness were more susceptible to severe disease symptoms, but they noticed that athletes tend to only get very mild symptoms. So scientists all over the world have been investigating the link between a person’s level of physical activity and their risk of severe COVID disease.

Studies across the UK, USA and South Korea have all agreed that people who do an average of 150min of light to moderate exercise (like walking) per week showed up to 37% reduction in disease severity. This was measured by the requirement of hospitalisation. Now, this 150min is the World Health Organisation’s recommendation for the amount of exercise that an average adult should do to achieve and maintain good health.

Scientists believe this disease protection is due to the benefits of exercise on improving immunity.

Scientists also looked at the effect of exercise on people who received COVID vaccines. Interestingly they found that people who did their 150 min of moderate exercise per week had a better vaccine conversion by 32%. This means that these people made more antibodies and their level of antibodies remained higher for longer when compared at 6 months post vaccine.

If you are someone with a compromised immune system, or you have other chronic illnesses or diseases, these findings are super important. You can help to improve your level of immunity and potentially reduce the severity of symptoms should you catch COVID, if you can exercise more. The level of improvement was relative to the level of exercise, so some exercise was shown to be better than none, and higher intensity exercise for more time was also more protective.

The take home message here is exercise, any level of exercise, will help improve your immunity and help to decrease disease severity should you be unlucky enough to get COVID.
If you haven’t exercised for a while, or you have underlying chronic illness, it’s important to discuss your exercise plans with a physiotherapist or your GP, who can guide you on the correct level or exercise for you to start, and appropriate progressions that can be achieved safely to help you reach your goals.

If you’d like some help with this, give us a call at Miami Physiotherapy or Lakelands Physiotherapy and our physios will assess your physical function and help you develop a plan to get you as healthy as possible, and keep you that way!


Gualano, B. Br. J Sports Med 2022;0:1-2 “Evidence-based physical activity for COVID-19: what do we know and what do we need to know?”: doi 1011136/bjsports-2022-105426

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