Exercise industry appeals for older Kiwis to get fitter, before the covid vaccine

Kiwi seniors are advised to improve fitness levels before getting Covid vaccine.

January 21, 2021

New Zealand’s exercise industry is supporting the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine and protecting the people most vulnerable, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

He was commenting on the very latest Trinity College Dublin research which found adults aged 60 and older should exercise, such as a brisk walk, at least two to three times per week before being vaccinated.

Exercise is a preventative effort to battle many health conditions and in the case of covid, the latest research shows it has benefits there too. So, it is clear medical experts, as in the Irish research report from Dublin, are supporting the message to increase cardiovascular activity prior to vaccination, Beddie says.

“The good news in New Zealand is this can be done in many settings: outdoors, at home or at an exercise facility. Given our current zero community transmission situation, exercise has never been safer and more needed.

“While covid does provide a unique reason to lift activity levels – and 50 percent of adult Kiwis don’t do enough – ideally this should be part of a plan to keep active.

“The early benefits of exercise include mental clarity, improved sleep and general positive state of mind. They will flow onto longer term health benefits such as cancer and cardiovascular disease reduction, through to significantly lower rates of degenerative diseases including dementia). Exercise really is the magic pill.” 

Beddie was commenting on new a research report which found regular aerobic or moderate exercise in weeks and months before the covid vaccination can help improve antibody responses post vaccination in older people.

It is critically important that lessons from previous vaccination programmes among older adults are used to inform current efforts, the report says.

Vaccine efficacy in older adults can be a challenge due to ageing effects on the immune system. As people age, ability to produce robust antibody responses following vaccination declines; they are less likely to generate long-term protection often required for full immunity to a virus.

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