Neutralizing a springboard for inflammation: Physical activity to control the immune network

Victor Kallen, Rogier Scherder, Maarten J. Cramer, Jacqueline Stam, Bruce Johnson, Erik Scherder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The severe consequences of the present Corona Virus Disease 2019 COVID-19 pandemic seem to be closely related to an already ongoing (‘first’) pandemic, directly associated with a sedentary lifestyle. It seems evident that the prognosis after infection is substantially worse for individuals suffering from, for example, (visceral) obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes type 2. Conse-quently, it may be considered highly relevant to gain insight into the potential beneficial effects of exercise interventions to strengthen the immune system, particularly in high-risk populations. For this reason, the exercise protocols that are suggested to strengthen the immune system, which can be executed by all ages and almost all physical conditions, were reviewed and evaluated. Previously published protocols range from interrupting prolonged sitting, to regular low-to-moderate exercise activities, to high intensity, typically interval, sports formats. Reported positive effects on immune functioning appear to be induced either directly or via beneficial metabolic and/or psychological effects and become measurable after 3 weeks to 3 months. Based in these findings, it appeared possible to design an optimal exercise protocol to maximize effects on immune functioning that should be executable for all, even under restricted (‘lockdown’) circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1196
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Exercise
  • Immune functioning
  • Inflammation
  • Lifestyle
  • Sedentary
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Health Information Management
  • Leadership and Management


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