Otautahi – Regular physical activity cuts the risk of dying from infectious diseases such as covid by 37 percent and reduces the chance of catching the virus by 31 per cent, according to new global research.
The findings have already gone to the Scottish government and other governments around world as well as public health experts and healthcare professionals.
ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie, who has worked a lot with the World Health
Organisation and given exercise talks in many countries, today appealed to talk to the government about making New Zealanders healthier and safer in covid.
“The researchers in this groundbreaking study found regular exercise where people can boost their immunity is what all New Zealanders want to know,” Beddie says.
“They also confirmed that if people add physical activity to their vaccination programme it increases the potency of the vaccination.
“We suggest a 12-week physical activity programme before vaccination which could result in 20 to 40 per cent more effective immunisation.
“If exercise was a pill, we would be publicly funding it and sending it to every New Zealander as a part of the covid public health prevention strategy.”
The research carried out by an international team of researchers, led by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), also found that physical activity can boost the effectiveness of vaccines by up to 40 per cent.
GCU conducted a review of 16,698 worldwide epidemiological studies published between January 1980 and April 2020 along with world-renowned immunologists and epidemiologists from University College London and Ghent University in Belgium, exercise and sports scientists from Cádiz University in Spain and a public health consultant from NHS Lanarkshire.
The research found that 30 minutes of activity five days a week or 150 minutes a week that gets people slightly out of breath such as walking, running, cycling and strengthening exercises can have a massive impact on immunity to infectious diseases such as covid.
The study report says physical activity strengthens the first line of defence of the human immune system and a higher concentration of immune cells in the world’s first study into the link between exercise and covid immunity.
The research has been published in the Sports Medicine journal.
For further information contact Make Lemonade NZ editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188