Exercise can boost health, but don't overdo

Exercise can boost health, but don't overdo

Today’s vital social distancing has been a social disappointment for many people who find camaraderie, biochemical joy from dopamine rushes or stress reduction through regular exercise and sport.

Research has shown exercise can influence the body’s immune system.

A large study during the Hong Kong flu outbreak in 1998 showed that people who did no exercise at all or too much exercise – over five days of exercise per week – were at greatest risk compared with people who exercised moderately. Mild to moderate exercise about three times a week showed the most positive results.

Here are some guidelines based on just the right amount – for most people.

  • Perform mild to moderate exercise (20-45 minutes), up to three times per week.
  • Strive to maintain (not gain) strength or fitness.
  • Avoid physical contact, such as playing team sports.
  • Wash and disinfect equipment after use.
  • If you use a gym, find one that is adequately ventilated, and exercise away from others.
  • Remain engaged with teammates through social media, rather than social gatherings or contact.
  • Eat and sleep well to boost your immune system.
  • Remain optimistic that this too shall pass.

Here are some things not to do:

  • Do not exercise past exhaustion.
  • Do not exercise if you have any flu-like symptoms.
  • Do not exercise more than five days a week.
  • Do not exercise in crowded, enclosed spaces.
  • Do not share drinks or eating utensils.
  • Do not overdrink fluids. It is not true that you can “flush out” toxins.

Exercise, like most things, is best in moderation. Stay safe out there and be creative – our game is not over, just temporarily suspended.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

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