With ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19th now confirmed, more and more UK adults are getting their COVID-19 vaccine every day. At the time of writing, over 45.6 million people in the UK have had at least one dose of a vaccine (that’s 87% of the adult population) from Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna or Janssen to protect them against the novel coronavirus.
But, what does getting your jab mean for your fitness routine, workouts and wellness? And, crucially, should you avoid exercise or intense workouts after you’ve been administered your vaccine at your local centre? Below, Rosie Scott, Clinical Director and Osteopath at Third Space Medical and Leigh-Michael Clayton, Elite Personal Trainer and Education Coordinator at Third Space help you cut through the noise with some easily digestible tips to keep you feeling fit and healthy after your vaccine.
Listen To Your Body
No different to a day or two after a particularly tough workout, your arm may be aching after your vaccine and won’t have the same strength or muscular endurance it would on a good day. Because of this, Scott advises, “switch up your routine so you aren’t asking your muscles to recover and work to their limit at the same time.”
Manage Your Expectations
The gym floor can be an inspiring place, and you always want to perform at your best. But, after your vaccine, you need to be realistic about the process you’ve just undergone and what’s happening to your body. “If you do decide to train, bear in mind that you have been exposed to a virus and your immune system may be more compromised than normal, so don’t expect personal bests or world records,” warns Clayton. “I’d advise taking it down a few notches when it comes to intensity and volume. Use this as an opportunity to deload if you like.”
A common side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine is feeling tired and achey. If, even 24 hours after your jab, you’re still feeling tired and drained, it’s because your body’s immune system is “working in overdrive,” Scott explains. “Don’t train when you are tired in the first few days to a week after your vaccine. Your energy reserves are being used elsewhere.”
Top Up Your H20
It’s widely reported that around 60% of your body is water, and the fluid inside your body is crucial for maintaining your temperature, waste removal and cellular function to keep you healthy. Similarly, a good fluid intake after your vaccine will ensure that the vaccine is transported effectively. “Our newly-made antibodies flow around your body via the blood, so make sure that the river is full,” says Scott.
Don’t Skip Legs
We’re all guilty of bypassing a lower-body session every once in a while, but it’d be a smart move to use the vaccine as motivation to focus on you redressing the balance. “If you’re feeling well enough to train and it’s just your arm that’s affected, adjust your routine accordingly,” advises Clayton. “For example, if your plan was for an upper-body session that day or even a full-body session, switch to a lower-body focus or opt to do some cardio for the few days afterwards instead.”
Workout Smarter, Not Harder
We get it — nailing a gym session or a tough workout helps you feel at your best. But when it comes to a pandemic-fighting vaccine, you may need to calibrate your approach to fitness a little. “Avoid strenuous exercise for a week after your vaccine,” explains Scott “Known, albeit rare, side effects include inflammation of the heart muscle, so try not to leave yourself susceptible to complications needlessly.”
Recalibrate Your Plate
When you’re feeling unwell, it’s more important than ever to fuel your body — and, therefore, your recovery — properly. “If you’re feeling rotten after the jab, my best advice would be to rest up, aim for plenty of sleep, plenty of fluids, and eat healthy with the aim of lots of fruit and veg intake,” says Clayton. “Double-down on things that your body needs to recover.”