Johns COVID-19 story

For those eagle eyed of you who read this newsletter regularly, you would have noticed that John, one of our clients who is ever present in the myzone top 5 league was missing from the league in November. This was due to John contracting Covid-19. At 76 years old he is deemed as a high risk individual. However, he didn’t even realise he had it to start, as he experienced no loss of taste or smell and had no signs of a raised temperature. His only symptoms were a headache, slight cough and aches. As this persisted for a little over a week he was convinced to see his GP. His lungs, heart and oxygen levels were all very good, but as a precaution a test was administered which came through the following day as positive. John, in consultation with his Personal Trainer, curtailed his exercise regime to focus on getting well. His recovery was fantastic, and a slow, progressive return to exercise began just a few weeks later. His heart rate during exercise was inflated as his body was still recovering, but this soon settled down and John is now back to his full exercise regime and topping the myzone leagues once again. John has been Personal Training with Mark since November 2016 and has followed a regime of long duration (more than an hour) moderate intensity aerobic exercise combined with resistance training. This regime has left John extremely fit and healthy for his age. This exercise plan certainly played a part in Johns low reaction to conducting Covid-19 and his amazing recovery from it. Scientists and scholars are now recommending exercising at moderate intensities, while avoiding too high intensities that could have counterproductive effects. Moderate exercise causes positive improvements in the immune system and a reduction in upper respiratory tract diseases. During each moderate exercise session, there is increased recirculation of immunoglobulins, neutrophils and natural killer cells that persist for up to 3 hours after exercise. This exercise-induced increase in the immune cells of the innate immune system is temporary, but it improves overall resistance against pathogens.

The mechanisms underlying these benefits are different and include:

  • improved humoral immunity (the production of antibodies that bind to viruses, bacteria and substances foreign to the body);
  • stimulation to the release of a range of substances (e.g. MAEPK/ERK, AMPK, TOR) associated with improved antigen recognition (substances recognised as dangerous by the immune system);
  • Activation of autophagy which plays a key role in the elimination of intracellular pathogens and the induction of adaptive immune response.

So you see, in the current pandemic we can learn a lot from Johns exercise regime and how it benefitted him through his Covid-19 experience. I would recommend training two, or even better, three times a week, by performing a combination of aerobic and strength exercises at moderate intensities. At home, the ideal exercises are those performed with aerobic equipment such as a bike or treadmill.  And when you’re not exercising? It is good to stay active in a simple and effective way: walking. If you are worried about Covid-19 and would like to find out how we can help please email

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