Recently, the Iowa State University researchers found that ninety minutes of light-to-moderate level exercise after the vaccine taken for influenza(flu) or COVID-19 will boost immunity and antibody response.

Researchers studied and analyzed the positive impact of 90 minutes of outdoor walk, jogging, and cycling on our body after the vaccination for influenza or COVID-19. They used the post-Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the analysis.

The researchers told one group to exercise for 90 minutes directly after vaccination and another group to avoid exercising. After four weeks, when compared to the second group, they found increased antibody response in the participants that belong to the first group who did the 90 minutes of exercise.

Also, the researchers found similar results with mice who ran on treadmills. The result from an experiment on mice indicates a type of protein is produced during exercise which helps to produce virus-specific antibodies and T-cells. Researchers asked the participants in the first group to maintain their heart rate at around 120 to 140 beats per minute.

 Exercise may enhance the effects of a Covid or Flu shot
Exercise may enhance the effects of a Covid or Flu shot

“Our preliminary results are the first to demonstrate a specific amount of time can enhance the body’s antibody response to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and two vaccines for influenza,” said Iowa State kinesiology Professor Marian Kohut.

According to the researchers, half of the participants are either overweight or obese. Exercising for 90 minutes for four weeks after the vaccination benefited people at various fitness levels.


“But a lot more research is needed to answer the why and how. There are so many changes that take place when we exercise — metabolic, biochemical, neuroendocrine, circulatory. So, there’s probably a combination of factors that contribute to the antibody response we found in our study,” Marian Kohut said.


According to Marian Kohut, working out will probably benefit the immune system. Because exercising or work out will increase blood flow and lymph flow that helps the immune cells to circulate quickly. So, the immune cells are more likely to detect something foreign such as viruses.

The findings from the research are published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.


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