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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-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
Article number1196
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Early online date10 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Mental and Behavioral Healthcare.

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Operational Team?Corona (LOT-C) of the Dutch Government.

Funding Information:
Funding: This study was supported by the National Operational Team—Corona (LOT-C) of the Dutch Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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


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