NEWS

Can I Exercise Before Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine?

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Exercising before your vaccination may boost your immune response.

Key Takeaways

  • The CDC offers no official guidance on exercising before the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Experts say there’s likely no drawback to exercising before you get vaccinated, and there may even be some benefits.
  • Exercising before you get vaccinated could potentially boost your immune response.

If you have a regular exercise routine, naturally, you may be wondering how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 might impact it. Can you exercise before your COVID-19 vaccine or will it interfere with your immune system response?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t offer specific advice on physical activity and vaccines, but there is research to suggest that working out—within reason—before you get vaccinated may help boost your body’s immune response. Here’s what you need to know.

Official Guidance From the CDC

The CDC offers no official guidance on exercise, either before or after your COVID-19 vaccine. They do say that you can “use or exercise your arm” after you get your vaccine to reduce possible pain and discomfort where you got the shot.

It’s not entirely clear why there is no official advice on exercise, but it’s likely because the clinical trials for the vaccines did not advise participants on exercise, Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease physician and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells Verywell.

Research on Exercise and Vaccines

Some research suggests that exercising before vaccination can help improve the body’s immune response. A 2013 meta-analysis published in the journal Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics found that exercising regularly can help boost immune system function. The researchers also determined that “acute bouts” of exercise, such as working out before getting vaccinated, can prompt better immune function.

There is no specific data for how exercise may impact the COVID-19 vaccine in particular, though, lead study author Kate M. Edwards, PhD, associate professor of exercise and sport sciences at the University of Sydney, tells Verywell. “But research has shown that exercising—15 minutes, moderate intensity, resistance exercise—before receiving other vaccines is safe, might actually reduce some of the symptoms of vaccine reactions, and boost your immune response,” she says.

The reason, per Edwards, is that “exercise activates your immune system, bringing more cells into the blood.” She cites the common example of exercising the arm muscles where you received the vaccine to combat soreness. “Those muscle cells are releasing immune molecules that could help the immune system identify and respond more efficiently,” she adds.

Another review of 20 studies on exercise and vaccine responses also determined that both working out regularly and before vaccination can help improve the body’s vaccine response.

What This Means For You

Experts say there’s no reason not to exercise before you get vaccinated against COVID-19. Just stick to your usual workout routine, and you should be fine. Don't try to overexert yourself more than you normally do before your appointment.

Can You Exercise Before Your COVID-19 Vaccine?

Doctors agree that it seems to be fine—and may even be beneficial to get some activity in before your jab.

Jamie Alan, PhD, an associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, tells Verywell that people can “absolutely” exercise before getting vaccinated against COVID-19. “If you have no contraindications—[or a condition that makes it unsafe to partake in physical activity]—to work out, to begin with, then it is safe to work out before your COVID-19 vaccine,” she adds.

Stacey Rose, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine and infectious diseases at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, agrees. “I am not aware of any contraindications for physical activity before COVID-19 vaccination,” she tells Verywell.

Experts say there really aren’t any potential issues with exercising before you are vaccinated, although they suggest being mindful of your limits. “You don't want to injure yourself and then have to miss your vaccine appointment,” Watkins says.

While you can do any exercise after being vaccinated, Rose says it’s “probably better to exercise using the muscles where the vaccine is given” to lessen any discomfort you may feel at the injection site like arm soreness. She suggests resistance band exercises or body-weight exercises that use your arms, noting they “might be a better idea than going for a run.”

Rose says it’s fine to work out after you’re vaccinated, but recommends listening to your body. “If you are feeling tired or sore, then take a break from exercising,” she says.

Overall, Alan also recommends recognizing what level of exercise is right for you. “Stay at your level," she says. "There is no need to ‘max out’ before your vaccination. If you usually walk 10 minutes, great. If you usually do CrossFit, great. But, if you normally walk 10 minutes, you probably shouldn't do 90 minutes of CrossFit before the vaccine. This drastic change will hurt more than it will help.”

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Getting your COVID-19 vaccine. Updated April 8, 2021.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Possible side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Updated March 16, 2021.

  3. Edwards K, Booy R. Effects of exercise on vaccine-induced immune responses. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2013;9(4):907-910. doi:10.4161/hv.23365

  4. Pascoe A, Fiatarone Singh M, Edwards K. The effects of exercise on vaccination responses: A review of chronic and acute exercise interventions in humans. Brain Behav Immun. 2014;39:33-41. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2013.10.003