Young woman practising yoga on her desk – Credit: Kniel Synnatzschke/Westend61

Top experts have asserted that exercise does not increase the risk of people catching COVID-19.

Sticking to a regular exercise routine while in self-isolation helps maintain a healthy immune system, a new analysis has shown.

Many previous studies have shown that regular moderate-intensity exercise is beneficial for immunity. Still, it has also been reported that more challenging exercises can suppress immune function, leading to a heightened infection risk after a workout.

In a new analysis involving leading physiologists Dr. James Turner and Dr. John Campbell from the University of Bath’s Department for Health, they debated whether exercise had a negative or positive on the immune system and whether athletes are more likely to get infections than the general population. Accordingly, they concluded there is “very limited” evidence proving exercise increases the risk of becoming infected with viruses. 

“In the context of coronavirus and the conditions we find ourselves in today, the most important consideration is reducing your exposure from other people who may be carrying the virus,” said Dr. Turner. “But people should not overlook the importance of staying fit, active, and healthy during this period. Provided it is carried out in isolation, then regular, daily exercise will help better maintain the way the immune system works – not suppress it.”

“People should not fear that their immune system will be suppressed by exercise, placing them at increased risk of coronavirus,” added Dr. Campbell. “Provided exercise is carried out according to the latest government guidance on social distancing.

Regular exercise will have a tremendously positive effect on our health and wellbeing, both today and for the future.”

They advocated for regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercises, such as walking, running, or cycling, intending to achieve 150 minutes per week. They also highlighted the importance of maintaining good personal hygiene when exercising. 

In addition, they recommended getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining a healthy diet.