COVID-19: Vaccination and exercise; advice for older adults

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We all know that staying active is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially as we get older. It makes us fitter, stronger and works wonders for our mental health and wellbeing. And whilst it can be hard to get out and about during lockdown, new research suggests that it’s more important than ever to make sure we’re getting our daily exercise… As older people and other priority groups are being vaccinated against Covid-19 across the UK, studies suggest that regular exercise can actually help to boost our immunity to the virus. 

Unfortunately, vaccinations can be less effective in older people because our immune system produces fewer antibodies as we age. This means it might not be able to respond to the vaccination with enough antibodies to give us the full, long-lasting protection from the virus that we need. However, the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) found that older people who exercised regularly in the weeks and months before they were vaccinated against influenza had better antibody responses to the vaccine, leaving them with longer lasting immunity. Based on this, TILDA recommends that adults over the age of 60 should take some kind of aerobic exercise at least 2-3 times a week, in the weeks and months before they have the vaccine. 

Your exercise regime doesn’t have to be anything scary – a brisk walk a few times a week will do! Anything that gets your heart pumping and makes you feel breathless. But the more prolonged it is, the better your immune system’s response will be when you get that all-important vaccine. So what changes could you make today, to help you and those around you to live a more active lifestyle? Because now more than ever, we all know the importance of looking after ourselves and each other.

If you are worried about how you or your loved one is going to get to the doctors for your vaccine or need a bit of support to get out and about Allied Hands can help. Learn more about our outstanding wide range of home care and support services for older adults in Leeds or, if you’d prefer an informal chat, just give us a call. 

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