COVID-19: sitting is the new smoking; the role of exercise in augmenting the immune system among the elderly

  • Olorunfemi Tokunbo
  • Taiwo Abayomi
  • Damilare Adekomi
  • Ibukun Oyeyipo
Keywords: Exercise; immune system; sedentary lifestyle; myokines.


Introduction: Like smoking, sedentary lifestyle is an issue of great concern because of its deleterious health challenges and implications. Given the global spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), social isolation regulations and laws have been implemented in many countries to contain the spread of the virus and this has caused a drastic shift from the usual physically demanding life to a sedentary lifestyle characterized by significantly reduced physical activities and prolong sitting.

Methods/Data Source: Human and nonhuman primate literature was examined to compare experimental and clinical modulation of inflammatory cytokines by exercised-induced myokines.

Data synthesis: Experimental and clinical evidence was used to examine whether exercised-induced myokines can prime the immune system of the elderly population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conclusion: The immune system changes with advancement in age which increases the likelihood of infectious disease morbidity and mortality in older adults. Several epidemiological studies have also shown that physical inactivity among geri- atric population impacts negatively on the immune system. Evidences on the importance of exercise in priming the immune system of elderly individuals could be an effective therapeutic strategy in combating the virus as it may well be a case of “let those with the best immune system win”.

Keywords: Exercise; immune system; sedentary lifestyle; myokines.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905