Is it safe to exercise after getting the Covid-19 vaccine?

We asked the experts

28 July 2021 - 10:16 By sanet oberholzer
Maintaining physical wellbeing is of paramount importance, both for stress relief and if you were to become ill from Covid-19, says Dr Susan Louw. Stock photo.
Maintaining physical wellbeing is of paramount importance, both for stress relief and if you were to become ill from Covid-19, says Dr Susan Louw. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/antoniodiaz

Registrations for the Covid-19 vaccine have opened for those 35 and up, and those in the 18+ age group are next in line.

With the chance to get the jab becoming a reality for an ever-wider group of people, you might have some questions about whether doing so means you can continue with your daily activities – and if this will have any bearing on your exercise regime.

We asked a trio of experts if it safe to exercise after getting the Covid-19 vaccine. Here's what they had to say:

DR ANASTACIA TOMSON

Medical doctor, author and activist

Yes, it is safe to do so. It's probably best to bank on a day or two of rest after the vaccine, in case of side effects – but if you are not experiencing side effects, or if they have resolved, it’s safe to exercise.

DR SUSAN LOUW

Haematopathologist at the National Health Laboratory Service

For sure. I would just say listen to your body but there is no contra-indication to exercising after the vaccine.

Say, for example, before the vaccine you had terrible osteoarthritis with your knees, or you had a cardio condition and you couldn’t exercise, it’s not as though the vaccine is going to correct any of those pre-existing conditions. But if you were able to jog for 5km before the vaccine, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t do it after the vaccine.

Maintaining physical wellbeing is of paramount importance, both for stress relief and if you were to become ill from Covid-19. The fitter you are, the stronger you are, the better. So the more exercise you can do, the better.

DR KGOSI LETLAPE

President of the Health Professions Council of SA 

As long as you have properly observed your observation period [after getting the vaccine] and you’re feeling fine, you can carry on with your normal activities.

Normally you’ll have to stay in the place where you are vaccinated for at least 15 minutes. After about half an hour you can leave. That will be for immediate effect, but remember that some effects can be delayed, so if you have any changes in breathing, etc, you should go back to the vaccination centre and seek medical attention.

It is advisable for people to take care of themselves. Why do you want to vaccinate and go and exercise? Just take some time out. You’ll still have the opportunity to exercise the following day. Don’t exert yourself; just take it easy. Exercise won’t run away.


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