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Exercise Could Protect You from Illnesses Like COVID-19–Here’s How

By now, everyone should already be aware of the protective precautions one should practice to keep themselves safe from the novel coronavirus. There’s frequent handwashing, social distancing and wearing protective gear.

However, one researcher is pointing towards another practice people can observe amidst the ongoing pandemic: exercising.

Antioxidant Booster

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According to Zhen Yan, a researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the activity has been proven to increase the production of extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD), an antioxidant that fights against serious lung-related diseases.

COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is known for its ability to damage an infected person’s lungs and cause severe respiratory issues.

The cardiovascular medicine professor further emphasized how the said antioxidant particularly works to protect a person from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The condition has proven deadly in 45% of COVID-19 cases.

In the end, the researcher said that exercising while still practicing precautions is an important preemptive defense for people should they contract COVID-19 and suffer from severe symptoms.

Recommended Routine

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Weight training works because more muscle will increase the antioxidant’s production

According to Yan, individuals can trigger the production of EcSOD even by just doing a single session of exercise. He also specified what kind of physical activities would be best to stimulate the antioxidant more.

Aerobic exercise, which includes running, brisk walking and swimming, is recommended. Doing weight training would also work well.

People who haven’t come into contact with the virus are advised to perform some form of exercise for at least half an hour every day to enjoy these benefits. Meanwhile, those who have already recovered from COVID-19 should only incorporate moderate activities.

These conclusions were reportedly made by Yan and a colleague after they read 120 past research studies. They were particularly interested in knowing how skeletal muscle EcSOD benefits the body.

A Caveat

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Health professionals recommend people to stay in tune with their body to see how exercise affects them

While all of these findings are very encouraging, people are still advised to take them with a grain of salt. This is because the study only looked at previous studies, which were mostly done on animals instead of humans.

It also didn’t account for how outcomes will differ between COVID-19 patients’ ARDS experience and whether they had a habit of exercising or not. There’s also the fact that there are still debates on EcSOD’s effect on disease, according to pulmonologist Dr. Craig Weinert.

Still, experts believe that exercising remains an important activity to keep one’s immune system in top shape amidst a pandemic.

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