How Exercise Can Protect Against COVID-19

How Exercise Can Protect Against COVID-19

Protect Yourself With Exercise 

We’re all aware that exercise has all sorts of benefits for overall health and wellbeing, whether it’s keeping organs healthy and stable, or boosting cognitive ability and mood. However, exercise has a bit of Catch-22 associated with it.

When we move our bodies, that process naturally produces free radicals (molecules created by oxygen that have the potential to harm the body) within us. Free radicals damage the growth, development and survival of cells in the body, eventually leading to disease.

Many people use that bit of information as a means to justify why exercise is unnecessary; that because movement creates free radicals, then exercise must somehow lead to bodily harm and, ultimately, disease.

Strangely, though, while exercise does cause free radical formation, frequent exercise simultaneously reduces oxidative stress, seemingly because regular physical activity enhances antioxidant defenses. So while frequent activity creates unwanted free radicals in our bodies, it also neutralizes any negative effects of those molecules.

Not only does it promote less oxidative overall stress, regular exercise counteracts disease. Most recently, Dr. Zhen Yan, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at UVA, found that exercise may even help reduce the risk of severe coronavirus complications.

What Happens When We Exercise?

A natural production of antioxidants occurs when we exercise. Antioxidants are what everyone wants more of, always. Antioxidants are the counterbalancing magic to free radicals; they inhibit oxidation (the process which causes free radicals). When we move, our body naturally boosts antioxidant production.

Dr. Yan has found one particular antioxidant that forms when we exercise: extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD). EcSOD is a superpower antioxidant. It’s, so far, the only known antioxidant that functions to literally scavenge for and remove biologically toxic oxygen, and has a unique ability to bind to muscles, tissues, and vital organs, providing the entire body with protection against oxidative stress.

This particular binding property is something that can’t be replicated through supplements or by ingesting antioxidants. In fact, it’s this element of EcSOD that promotes natural defense mechanisms and molecular balance in the body.

Excellent health occurs when our bodies are in that perfect balance. In normal, optimal conditions, your body maintains a redox balance: a physical and molecular homeostasis that ensures our cells and bodies are protected. EcSOD promotes that cellular balance that keeps us in prime health.

EcSOD is hugely beneficial to the body. But Dr. Yan’s latest research findings make EcSOD more invaluable than ever: the antioxidant protects against acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a form of lung failure that’s being seen in the most severe COVID-19 case. ARDS is a top cause of death in people who contract coronavirus; EcSOD, meanwhile, safeguards the lungs from ARDS.

And it’s not just ARDS that this powerful antioxidant works against. Dr. Yan has studied the impact of exercise on health for over 30 years; he continues to find that the most basic but supremely impactful benefits exercise has on our overall well being are stunning, and like nothing else out there that man can provide.

Just Start Moving

Take this time (this extra time you have on your hands, perhaps) to reap the benefits of exercise. Not only will exercise elevate your mood and balance your hormones, it can potentially keep you safe from COVID-19.

EcSOD is just one very tiny, but miraculous example of the copious and various benefits that we can all gain from moving our bodies each day.

Dr. Yan recommends exercising at a minimum of 4 times a week for 30 minutes per day. And, he says, it doesn’t have to be extreme exercise! It all depends on you, and where you are on your exercise journey. Start small, just start somewhere.

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Mary Elizabeth Adams
Jun 19, 2020

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