Don't Do This Two Hours Before or After Your Vaccine, Doctors Warn

This could actually help you feel better, but don't do it too close to your shot.

Doctors have been dishing out a lot of advice to keep in mind before and after your COVID vaccine. The goal is to make sure your vaccine is as safe and effective as possible, which might mean avoiding certain behaviors. Now, doctors are suggesting you stay away from one daily activity within two hours of your vaccine. Keep reading to find out what you shouldn't do immediately before or after the shot, and for more essential vaccine guidance, The CDC Says Don't Do This Within 2 Weeks of Your COVID Vaccine.

Avoid vigorous exercise two hours before and after your COVID vaccine.

Instructor and student workout at gym after pandemic reopening. They work hard with weights to stay in shape
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Some experts are suggesting that you skip your daily sweat session in the two hours before and after you sit down for your shot. Rob Simon, MD, allergist and immunologist at the Scripps Clinic, told CBS News 8 that vigorous exercise right after the shot could potentially affect the flow of the vaccine. Once the shot is delivered into your muscle, "you want that vaccine to come out of the muscle into your bloodstream to start to educate your immune system at a certain rate—the rate at which was studied in the clinical trials." When you exercise vigorously, your heart rate could rise and thereby "increase your blood flow to that muscle and take it out of the muscles faster than it was originally designed to," Simon explained. Without any studies, it's not clear if there would be a negative effect, but he suggests you avoid strenuous activities within two hours of the shot just in case.

Certified personal trainer Damien Evans told Verywell Fit that your body is working overtime after getting a vaccine, and "any extra high-intensity activities would be adding to that stress." Evans noted that while exercise is generally "positive stress on the body," if your body is already under stress—in this case, your immune system working to process the vaccine–the extra stress of a vigorous workout may do more harm than good. And for more activities to avoid, Don't Do This Until a Month After Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Warn.

But working out in the 24 hours before your vaccine could be beneficial.

Woman exercising going for a run in the morning
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Past research has shown that exercising 24 hours before a vaccine can help make it more effective, though no studies have yet been done on the COVID vaccine in particular. Researchers behind a January study suggested one way you could try to boost your immunity would be to "exercise and get a good night's sleep in the 24 hours before vaccination so that your immune system is operating at peak performance. This may help ensure that the best and strongest immune response happens as quickly as possible."

A February Lancet study noted that some previous studies concluded that people who engage in "moderate-intensity exercise before vaccination" showed heightened rates of efficacy and more antibodies. The evidence was never fully conclusive, however, since other studies have shown there is no discernible difference. And for more on vaccine safety, Dr. Fauci Just Said Don't Take This Medication With the COVID Vaccine.

Some light exercise after the vaccine is advisable.

Older woman doing yoga
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Once a couple of hours have passed since you got your shot, you can monitor your side effects and see if you feel well enough to engage in some light exercise. Evans told Verywell Fit that people should listen to their body and think more conservatively about exercise in the days following vaccination. He encouraged his clients who got the jab to go for a walk outside or take a slow flow yoga class rather than hit the treadmill or deadlift. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

You should exercise the arm that received the shot.

man with upper arm pain after vaccine
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends exercising the arm that got the jab to reduce any pain and discomfort you might experience. This is common advice for any vaccine. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center warns against babying your arm after a shot. "Keep it moving," they advise. "You want to get blood flowing to the area." And for more on life after the vaccine, Dr. Fauci Just Confirmed You Can Do This After Getting Vaccinated.

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