Exercise and sleep boost vaccine effectiveness

Workout Anytime
Greg Maurer

You heard that right – there is considerable evidence showing that regular exercisers produce higher level of antibodies in response to vaccinations! This is particularly true for older adults.

Several studies have examined the link between regular exercise and physical fitness and immune response to vaccination. A new study provided more evidence.

In this study scientists recruited a group of young athletes and compared their immune response to flu vaccination to a group of age matched healthy non-exercisers. The athletes produced significantly higher levels of antibodies and immune cells in response to vaccination compared to their sedentary counterparts.

Exercise can Reduce Vaccine Reactions

Another study with older men looked at two groups:  one did a resistance training workout prior to vaccination and the other group was sedentary during this time. The workout group had fewer vaccine reactions but their level of immune response was NOT negatively affected.

Sleep and Response to Vaccines

There is extensive evidence showing the link between sleep and immunity! Therefore, it is not surprising that several studies have shown a relationship between length of sleep and immune response to vaccination.

A 2020 study showed people who get a good night’s sleep for the two nights prior to flu vaccination have an enhanced immune response.

Other studies have showed that sleep after vaccination also impacts immune response in a positive manner showing increased antibody production.

Take Home Message

The take home message is simple: regular exercise and prioritizing sleep are key to improving your immune response to vaccination!

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