Why staying fit needs to be more than a walk in the park

www.dailymail.co.uk
7 min read
fairly easy
DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: We all know that maintaining fitness levels is crucial, for our waistlines and mental wellbeing. Yet a recent study found that two-thirds of us had become less active.
Are you managing to keep fit? Chances are, probably not.

We all know that maintaining fitness levels is crucial, not just for our waistlines but for our mental wellbeing. Yet a recent study found that two-thirds of us had become far less active since the Covid pandemic struck. This is particularly unfortunate as we face a second wave, because staying fit is also vital for keeping our immune systems in good shape.

A 2019 study in the Journal of Sport and Health Science, for example, found that regular exercise boosts levels of circulating immune cells, leaving our bodies better primed to fight off infection.

Dr Michael Moseley (pictured) says chances are most of us aren't keeping fit yet as we face a second wave, staying fit is vital for keeping our immune systems in good shape

But even if the onset of shorter, wintry days makes doing aerobic exercise, such as walking, running and cycling, less appealing, there is an equally important form of exercise that we can do in the comfort of our homes, with no special equipment: resistance exercise.

Studies have shown that resistance exercises — which focus on building strength — not only preserve our muscles as we age, and help keep the weight off (muscles burn calories, even while we sleep) but also increase important components of our immune systems, such as killer T cells, which fight off infection.

They may even increase the effectiveness of a Covid-19 vaccine: a study from California showed that healthy volunteers who did a 15-minute arm and shoulder workout — using elastic resistance bands [a bit like a giant elastic band] — produced a much more powerful immune response after being vaccinated against flu than a control group who just sat around.

For the past few years resistance training has been part of my morning routine: I get out of bed, put the radio on and spend a few minutes doing a series of push-ups, squats, abdominal crunches, lunges and the plank — where you lie in a straight line on your front and…
By Dr Michael Mosley for the Daily Mail
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