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New study shows this daily activity increases COVID vaccine effectiveness by 25%

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — How much physical activity do you get per week? If the answer is very little–or worse, none–you might want to consider stepping up your exercise game. 

Physical activity prevents chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. And now scientists say a daily dose may strengthen the protection of your COVID shot. 

Scientists in South Africa looked at close to 200,000 adults vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson jab. They found vaccinated men and women who exercised 2.5 hours per week at moderate intensities were 2.8 times less likely to develop severe COVID symptoms when infected compared to people who rarely exercised. Researchers say this translates into 25% higher protection from the vaccine. 

“Our study is the first to use recent, directly measured physical activity data to demonstrate an association between increased levels of regular physical activity and effectiveness of vaccination against COVID-19 hospitalization, suggesting that regular physical activity may increase the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and exhibit a dose–response,” study author’s say in the paper. “Public health messaging should encourage physical activity as a simple, cost-effective way of enhancing vaccine effectiveness to mitigate the risk of severe COVID-19 illness requiring hospital admission.”

The article was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.