Working Out Would Increase Antibodies after Vaccination

A recent study published in the Brain, Behavior, and Immunity journal indicates that working out in 90 minutes may help increase the responses of the immune system in those who have just received a vaccine. In addition, exercises do not result in side effects for a vaccine.

In previous studies, scientists have found that those who work out before a vaccination tend to have higher numbers of antibodies.

A possible explanation is that exercises produce acute stress, which leads to an inflammatory response in the body. This reaction subsequently causes the body to generate antibodies and interferons to fight foreign particles. Another hypothesis is that physical activities can improve lymph and blood flow, which boosts the circulation of immune cells.

In this study, researchers from Iowa State University examined the effects of a 90-minute exercise session, including jogging, walking, or cycling, on antibody response.

Participants received vaccines for seasonal flu, H1N1 flu, or COVID-19. The control group worked out within 30 minutes after getting the shot.

The results show that these individuals had more antibodies than those who did nothing after the shot. A study with mice provided similar findings.

It is still unclear how and why exercise boosts immune response. A hypothesis is a mixing effect of biochemical, circulatory, and metabolic components in the body.

The authors noted that 90 minutes of working out after vaccination may be challenging for some people. However, the benefits outweigh this drawback. A shorter session of 45 minutes did not result in a boost in antibodies, while a 60-minute session should be tested in the future.

Other scientists also agree with the positive effects of exercises on antibody responses. However, it is still not fully understood whether this can be applied to most individuals or results in a clinically meaningful difference in the efficacy of vaccines.

The authors believed that this study may encourage more people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or the flu. The knowledge that you would work out to boost antibodies may make you feel more confident and have more control over how the immune system in the body responds to vaccines.

Nevertheless, this does not suggest that the findings may reduce the hesitancy in many people for vaccination. Such a claim may underestimate the severity of the problem.

Only exercise is not enough to replace immunization because physical activities do not generate immune memory to foreign particles, such as viruses or bacteria. Exposure to an infection or vaccination is necessary to produce antibodies.


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