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Does exercise improve the effectiveness of vaccines? | Here's what we found

A study out of South Africa suggests regular physical activity improves the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine

ATLANTA — A new study suggests that regular physical activity improves the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. But is this true?



Yes, exercise strengthens your immune system to help your body combat viruses and works together with vaccines to help keep you from serious illness. 

What we found

Researchers in South Africa looked at the activity levels of nearly 200,000 vaccinated healthcare workers, finding that protection against hospitalization was 60% in the “low activity” group but 85% in the “high activity” group.

Dr. Hannings says exercise works independently from vaccines to strengthen your immune system.

“If you get enough rest, eat healthy, exercise on a regular basis, if you keep yourself healthy you’re going to be in the best position possible when you do encounter some kind of virus to help fight it off,” said Dr. Hanninigs.

Dr. Shapiro tells us it’s important to do the right kind of exercise.

“Have at least a half hour of movement, and this doesn’t mean that you’re just walking,” said Dr. Shapiro. “It means to have some type of heavy breathing, laboring enough to sweat. That helps our body build up the immunity.”

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