To minimise the transmission of COVID-19, social distancing, and meticulous hand washing hygiene are two preventative measures that are being encouraged by Governments and health authorities world-wide. But we can be empowered to do more to proactively protect our respiratory health during this pandemic, and the great news is that it has nothing to do with restrictions and everything to do with getting off the couch and/or stepping away from the desk.
We know that exercise is important for our health and wellbeing, and it is promoted for its protective benefits in the prevention and treatment of illness and disease for good reason. Recent medical research strongly supports the possibility that regular endurance exercise may prevent, or at least reduce, the severity of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can be one of the serious respiratory-related symptoms of COVID-19.
Through endurance exercise, skeletal muscle naturally produces a protective enzyme known as ‘extracellular superoxide dismutase’ (EcSOD). This potent antioxidant is redistributed to vital tissues, particularly the lungs. This enhanced EcSOD activity increases the first line of defence against oxidative damage in the lung tissue. By reducing oxidative stress in the lungs, EcSOD reduces the risk and severity of acute lung injury and ARDS. Thus, it is suggested that regular endurance exercise may be an effective therapeutic intervention for the prevention and treatment of numerous oxidative stress-related diseases, including some of the respiratory symptoms of COVID-19.
The great news is that endurance exercise can be as simple as a long walk, run, ride or swim.
Let this be the green light of encouragement to get out and get moving. Not only will it help clear the mind, increase endorphins, give you a change of scenery – and often perspective – but it will aid in the protection of your respiratory health. This is a great self-care activity you can do, starting today. If you would like support in your exercise journey, our caring health and movement professionals at The Body Refinery are here to help. We have a range of options available to you, including online classes, 1-on-1 exercise physiology sessions, 1-on-1 physio-led clinical rehabilitation sessions, and small group clinical rehab classes that are taken by a physiotherapist. Call, email or book online today.
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Written by Sarah Holloway, Myotherapist and Pilates Instructor