Fight Corona with Exercise

Old people may get more chances of infected with pneumonia following Covid 19. Few with severe Corona infections die due to Pneumonia. (1)
Pneumonia is an infection affecting one or both lungs. It causes inflammation in the alveoli (air sacs in lung) which are normally filled with air but inflammation leads to pus or fluid filling in the air sacs, making it difficult to breathe. (8)
A patient with severe pneumonia may not able to breath and die because of more fluids block the air sac and airway.(8)

How to prevent Pneumonia?

One of the reasons why individuals will become infected with a cold or flu several times a year is that there are several hundred strains of the cold or flu viruses and mutations during reproduction generate new strains each year. Antibodies generated against specific cold viruses will not work as effectively on new ones. As a consequence, the ability to fight off the common cold is largely dependent on the innate immune system.
Fortunately, the wealth of data on this subject would tend to support the conclusion that light to moderate intensity exercise training improves immune function. It appears that moderate exercise can significantly reduce the incidence of cold and cold symptoms compared to sedentary people. (11)
There are mainly two ways we can prevent pneumonia.
  1. Improve Immunity – You can fight against Corona Infections and other infections too, If you improve the immunity.
  2. Social Distancing – Social distancing also an effective method, the virus may not able to reach you when you distance yourself from others.

How to Improve Immunity?

Good food and exercise are the ways to improve the immunity against Corona infections. Physical activity and exercises have many effects on body, with the immunity of the person.

How Exercise Improves Immunity?

“Aerobic Exercise multiplies the production of cells that fight viruses & deadly bacteria,” says Dr. R.V. Vijayakumar, Consultant, Steadfast Physiotherapy Centre, V.V. Puram, Bangalore, who recommends taking short exercises throughout the day to “to have your blood circulating” even when you’re locked down inside your home.There are several ways, exercise increases the immunity. Some of the ways are;
  • Physical exercise and activities may flush the virus out of the lungs. This may decrease the probabilities of getting infection, cold and fever.
  • Physical activity & Exercise causes alteration in white blood cells & antibodies. White blood cells (WBC) are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. When you do the exercise,  antibodies or WBCs flow in blood vessels more faster, and detect viruses and bacteria’s earlier than they might have before.
  • The brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing. This temperature rise may help the body fight infection better. (This is similar to what happens when you have a fever.)
  • Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Some stress increases the chance of illness. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness. (8)
The researchers from Department of Medicine, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida says aerobic exercise training improved CD4 cell counts and therefore increases and stabilizes the immunity of the diseased persons and also improves the lipid profile. They also emphasis on good nutrition may enhance immune function.

Exercise as a natural source of VIP/NTM reactive antibodies

Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is a very little naturally arising peptide, which does numerous significant roles in the body as a vaso dilatator, neuro transmitter, & modulator of human immunity. (5)
VIP excites natural destroyer cells in the immune system (amongst the major line of defense against virus or bacteria) and also the production of cytokine, a hormone that impacts the action of further cells in the immune system. VIP therefore has significant role in modulating the immune system. (5)
However, acute exercise has been shown to be associated with a brisk increase in plasma levels of VIP. It is possible therefore that the antibodies may have been produced in response to increased VIP levels during exercise.
Furthermore, exercise showed significant improvements in fasting glucose, physical and mental quality of life, upper body strength and lower body strength. (5,6)

Nature of physical Activity & Exercise

Dr.Prabhu PT, Director, Steadfast Physiotherapy & Rehab, HSR, Bangalore suggest that old people should do daily 20 minutes of brisk exercises with 30 minutes of aerobic exercise as the aerobic exercise stimulates the production of natural auto-antibodies to fight against corona infection.
A research from Dr.Veljkovic, Institute of Nuclear Science, Belgrade, confirms that aerobic exercise training may be a promising non-toxic and inexpensive method to boost the immunity. (3)
Sixty minutes of physical activity based exercises are endorsed each day for healthy Indians in view of the great tendency to develop Diabetes and Cardiac disorders. The physical activity may include 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activities, 15 minutes of job-related activities, and 15 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises. (7)
It is quite apparent that exercise has profound effects on the immune system. These effects are dependent on exercise intensity, proper training regimens (i.e. the avoidance of over training) and good nutrition. (7)
You feel better, healthier and active when you do exercise. So move forward, take part in aerobics or walk.


  1. Situation reports – Coronavirus Infections (2019-nCoV)- WHO. &
  2. Maduagwu SM, Kaidal A, Gashau W, Balami A, Ojiakor AC, et al. (2015) Effect of Aerobic Exercise on CD4 Cell Count and Lipid Profile of HIV Infected Persons in North Eastern Nigeria. J AIDS Clin Res 6: 508. doi:10.4172/2155-6113.1000508
  3. Veljkovic M, Dopsaj V, Stringer WW, Sakarellos-Daitsiotis M, Zevgiti S, et al. (2010) Aerobic exercise training as a potential source of natural antibodies protective against human immunodeficiency virus-1. Scan J Med Sci Sports 20: 469-474.
  4. Paul S and Said SI. Human autoantibody to vasoactive intestinal peptide: Increased incidence in muscular exercise. Life Sciences, 1988, 43, 1079-84.
  5. Woie L, Kaada B, Opstad PK. Increase in plasma vasoactive intesinal polypeptide (VIP) in muscular exercise in humans. Gen Pharmacol1986, 17, 321-9.
  6. MacLaren DP. Human gastrin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide responses to endurance running in relation to training status and fluid ingested. Clin Sci1995, 89, 137-46.
  7. Misra A, Nigam P, Et al ; Physical Activity Consensus Group. Consensus physical activity guidelines for Asian Indians. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2012 Jan;14(1):83-98. doi:10.1089/dia.2011.0111. Epub 2011 Oct 11. Review.
  9. C. Nieman, Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech 19, 8 (2008).
  10. E. Matthews et al., Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 34, 1242 (2002).


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