March 19, 2020, by Charlotte Gauja

Why you should prioritise exercise in the current circumstances

Amongst the madness that we are currently experiencing, you may be seeing posts informing you to keep exercising. Boris Johnson addressed the importance of exercise in a speech to the nation whereby he encouraged you not got to work but to continue to exercise. As you may not be in work or university this news can sound surprising so we have put together some reasons why you should continue to exercise in the current circumstances:

  • Exercise boosts your immune system

An increase in your breathing rate which can help blow bacteria out of the lungs and airways.

The increased blood flow you experience during exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the cells that combat disease, due to their increased movement during exercise they can detect illnesses earlier than they might have before.

When you are hot and sweaty after a workout the increase in body temperature may prevent bacteria from growing. This temperature rise may help the body fight infection better, this is why your body temperature naturally rises during a fever.

Please note we are not encouraging you to run a panic marathon but to exercise moderately, this is within your usual workout exercise.

  • Exercise helps you manage your mental health

Understandably it is an anxious time with a lot of uncertainty in the air. Stress can increase the chance of illness as more stress hormones flow though the blood. Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones and this may protect against illness. Activity will also help take your mind off worries and aid your mental health.

  • Exercise helps you sleep

We know sleep is good for your health, after all everyone knows how bad the next day feels after a late night. While more sleep won’t prevent you from getting sick, not getting enough good quality sleep could negatively affect your immune system.

Sleep is needed to make cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and effectively creating an immune response. These are not only produced but also released during a restful night’s kip.


Please be mindful of the exercise you part take in during this period, if you take part in strenuous exercise it may weaken your immune system so continue to exercise within your personal limits and at a social distance. The types of exercise we would recommend exercise to boost your immune system are:

  • Indoor online fitness classes with UoN Sport or our partners at Les Mills and Shreddy
  • 30-minute walk round your local park
  • A run, similar distance to what you would normally do or if you have not run before keeping it under 3km.
  • 30-minute bike ride, increasing the blood flow around your body.
  • If you own weights and regularly weight train do not see this as an opportunity to exhaust your body but to do a wide range of movements in a whole-body workout where you will increase blood flow to multiple muscles.

We will be sharing content on our social media channels from our team and our partners to help you through this challenging time, follow @uonsport on Instagram, Facebook and twitter to get the latest.

If you want any other information about UoN Sport and COVID-19 please visit:

Posted in ExerciseUncategorized