The advice on exercising after having the COVID vaccine is listen to your body!
After having the jab, your body is busy. The immune system is in overdrive as it fortifies your body. Individual reactions range from little or nothing at all, to wiped out for several days. Almost always, there is discomfort at the vaccination site.
Our immune response appears to be greater the fitter we are. There appears to have been no reports of reduced efficacy of the vaccine when combined with exercise, and there is some mention that exercise may actually enhance the effects of the vaccine.
For most of us however, training may need to be modified, reduced or complete rest is recommended if symptoms are severe. For elite athletes, the advice is to schedule training to factor in at least a couple of days of down time or complete rest, probably somewhat challenging for our Olympic hopefuls!
The advice is similar for any situation when your body is under stress, whether this be emotional or physical (including sleep deprived). If you do not have adequate resources to repair and recover due to stresses, exercise can be counterproductive and injury risk higher.
If possible, it is great to mention your vaccination plans to your trainer in advance so that they can modify your program to accommodate any side effects and if there is pain at the vaccination site, some exercises such as bicep curls and boxing may be best avoided.
There are some ways of preparing your body for the vaccination. Maxine White, Naturopath at Healthy Heights suggests a protocol beginning one week prior and continuing two weeks post vaccination. During this time, sleep and nutrition should be prioritized and stress minimized. In addition, supplements of vitamin D, vitamin C at regular intervals throughout the day plus magnesium, zinc and probiotics should be considered. Gut health is also important for any vaccination as it plays a major role with our immunity. This is sound advice not only for the vaccination, but also for our general immunity during the cold and flu season.
In conclusion, the jab is a great opportunity to focus on general health and immunity, but remember to be kind to yourself and not to push through any side effects. You deserve a badge of honour but not an injury!