There is widespread concern in the community about the new strain of coronavirus spreading from China. I see plenty of advice and methods shared on social media aimed at preventing infection, including very esoteric or hyper specific ones that I wouldn’t recommend at all… Be smart and don’t let panic guide your actions!
The basic hygiene advice shared by the WHO will certainly be helpful and I encourage you to review and follow it. But the most potent way you will actually prevent infection (barring staying at home…) is by ensuring you get enough physical activity on a daily basis, in both volume and variety.
Physical activity (except strenuous training at professional and elite levels) is an immune system adjuvant that will boost your body’s capacity to fight against the virus. This boost will be both over the short-term but also for the long term.
Two useful references here (feel free to ask me for the PDF if you don’t have access):
- The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system, Journal of Sport and Health Science (Volume 8, Issue 3, May 2019, Pages 201-217)
- Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan, Front. Immunol., 16 April 2018
Besides lowering your probability of getting infected if exposed to the virus, it will also:
- improve your probability of making a quick and complete recovery if you do get infected
- provide you with all the other numerous benefits from increased physical activity
Apart from dialing in your sleep and lifestyle, that’s the easiest way to actually and efficiently do something in case you are worried. In fact, if it helps you to create a physical activity habit for the long-term, worrying about the virus might turn out to be a very positive event for your health in the long run!