The vaccines are finally here! But the big question is, how well prepared are our elderly to receive the vaccine?
Since the escalation of the COVID-19, over a billion people across the world have faced restrictions due to varying degree of confinement. This confinement has forced our seniors devoid of physical activity and increase in sedentary behaviour. Social Isolation has had a major impact on the mental health, incidence and progression of non-communicable diseases and lower immunity.
And since our elderly are already associated with a decline in normal functioning of the immune system described as ‘immunosenescence’, the effects are double-folded for this age group. This can contribute to poorer vaccine response and increased incidence of infection seen in older people.
According to researchers at the University of Bath, stay at home should not mean that people should stop exercising. Keeping up with regular, daily exercise will impact and play a vital role in helping maintain a healthy immune system, which will in turn work effectively following vaccination.
Having an active immune system to counter infections and to respond actively to vaccination is the need of the hour during this pandemic. And in general, it is widely accepted that exercise plays a key role in building immunity. It is proven that bouts of exercise enhance immune surveillance. The haemodynamic changes produced due to exercise facilitate the activation of immune response. While the immune system responds to single bout in a transitory way, it is likely that these effects accumulate over time and produce immunological adaptations. Regular exercise can enhance vaccination response increase T-cells and boost the function of the natural killer cells in the immune system. Also, our skeletal muscles are an important immune regulator which is activated by regular exercise specifically, strengthening exercise.
Regular moderate intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, running or cycling is recommended, with the aim of achieving 150-300 minutes per week. Resistance exercise atleast twice a week, has clear benefits for maintaining muscles, which also helps movement. Given the current scenario, it is also important to maintain good personal hygiene while exercising.
In addition to getting MODERATE EXERCISE there are plenty of things you can do to boost your immunity and reduce your odds of getting sick and also be better prepared to receive the vaccine:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Eat healthy and balanced diet.
- Stay hydrated
- Get good sleep
- Wear a mask
- Practice good hand hygiene.
- Maintain a safe physical distance between yourself and other people
So what are you waiting for? Move more, be active, stay fit, boost your immunity and wait for the vaccine to free us from the clutches of the pandemic!
Yes! Don’t stop exercising….It is more important NOW THAN EVER to stay active! Your immune system will thank you!