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COVID-19 Vaccine: Is It Safe To Exercise After Being Vaccinated?

The vaccine rollout for people over 18 in India- which makes for 112.8 million people (36.5 per cent) of the overall population in the country- has started.

The news has provided a great relief to this age group, and has also raised a few concerns, especially amongst the fitness enthusiasts, athletes and proactive individuals; they're wondering if it is safe to continue their workout regime after the first jab or just sit until they are fully vaccinated.

In this article, we will discuss whether it is safe to exercise after getting vaccinated for COVID-19 or not.

Exercising After Getting COVID-19 Vaccine: Good Or Bad?

COVID-19 vaccination may have some normal side effects such as fever, fatigue and headache after the administration, but, there is not much research data available to determine the effect of vaccines on the performance of exercises or physical activities.

According to a study, exercise training or any form of physical activity can reduce the risk of communicable diseases by enhancing the immunity after getting vaccinated.

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Also, long-term aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of influenza-related illnesses in older adults by boosting their immune functions, especially after pneumonia or influenza vaccination. [1] However, not much is known about the types, duration and intensity of exercises.

Talking about COVID-19 vaccine, which is a recent pandemic, knowing the benefits of exercise followed by vaccination could help improve the immune ability and limit immune system deterioration that comes with old age.

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Physical exercise may act as a catalyst to the vaccine and help improve the immune response or reduce any severity of the coronavirus symptoms.

The study also says that exercise is a drug-free treatment method to maintain the overall physical and mental health and reduce negative effects on the immune system that come with isolation, stress and other pandemic factors.

We could say that until the COVID-19 vaccines become more efficient and widely available, people must understand its side effects and take the decision of performing exercises after vaccination very carefully, until more data is available.

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What To Do?

From the aforementioned discussion, you might have got an idea that it is okay to exercise after getting vaccinated. However, we are unsure how our body will respond to the vaccination.

Experts suggest not to perform exercises if you are experiencing some side effects such as nausea, swelling of the arm, muscle pain, tiredness or headache.

These symptoms may prevent you from carrying out your workout routine for a day or two, but as they are not bad, they may not cause much impact on your daily routines.

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The only thing to worry about is that you may not be able to carry out some of your high-intensity workouts with the same force for a particular time.

If you are really feeling uncomfortable while exercising or after the exercise, listen to your body. You can pause high-intensity exercises, replace some hard core workouts with simple exercises or fully stop doing exercises for a few days or until you feel better. Remember, forcing yourself to perform exercise after the vaccine can make the condition worse.

According to the CDC, taking pain medications such as ibuprofen after exercising can only decrease the effect of the vaccine. Therefore, only if you feel better or the symptoms are manageable without medications, go for exercising, as usual, otherwise don't.

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Is It Safe To Return To Gyms?

Though exercising after getting a vaccine is considered safe in some ways, it is not fully safe to visit a gym. For people over 18 and below 45, it is not at all safe, considering that both the first and the second dose have not started yet (as of 29 April 2021).

Even for older adults who have received either one dose or are fully vaccinated, are not recommended to visit public places such as gyms without proper safety measures such as wearing masks.

It is better to perform certain indoor physical activities or better, perform household chores such as washing clothes, gardening or sweeping floors which are equal to some forms of workouts.

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To Conclude

Exercising is good for the overall wellbeing of people and could also benefit the body after vaccine administration. However, one must not neglect its negative effects and continue exercising as it may make the condition worse. Also, as the new research based on the association between the two will keep coming, there may be some changes in the data.

Story first published: Friday, April 30, 2021, 8:30 [IST]