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How to prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine

How to prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine

We’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel (and not just because we like to look on The Bright Side)! 

Vaccines are now available to older adults in every state, and President Joe Biden’s administration expects that all adults in the U.S. will be able to schedule their shots by the end of May. Soon it will be your turn.

Experts recommend trying to be in tiptop shape to receive the vaccine, focusing on “all resilience factors in your power,” according to Gregory Plotnikoff, MD, founder of Minnesota Personalized Medicine. By that he simply means keeping your immune system balanced and strong with good quality sleep, good nutrition, and plenty of exercise.  So nothing crazy – just the usual healthy lifestyle practices we aim for each day.  But,  you really want to follow through. 

Holistic health practitioner Erin Parekh offers a few more specific COVID prep guidelines:

The week before your vaccine:

  • Remove inflammatory foods like sugar, dairy, gluten, and alcohol from your diet at least 3 days before and the day of your vaccine, and increase your protein intake.
  • Supplement with immune boosters such as vitamins C and D, zinc, and selenium
  • Get plenty of fresh air and sunshine (there’s that vitamin D again!)
  • Try to get  7 to 9 hours of quality sleep to keep your immune system strong.  Studies show that even slight sleep deprivation can impair the body’s immune function.

The day of and the week after your vaccine:

  • Hydrate—and aim for 2 litres of water per day. Drinking enough water ensures nutrients are delivered to the body’s cells and keeps organs functioning properly. 
  • Rest if you need to, especially if you’re experiencing any side-effects (muscle aches, fever,  or other flu-like symptoms) which are more common after the second shot. (Not to worry, though, it’s just your immune response kicking into high gear that’s making you feel crummy.)
  • If possible, steer clear of those  inflammatory foods for a few more days, and continue to eat more protein to help your immune system create those coveted antibodies.

And what about working out? Good question! Yes, you can, but you may not feel like it.

While there are no specific CDC guidelines regarding fitness protocols, it's important to use your common sense, and see how your body feels in the days after getting your shot. You may need to adjust your workout routine until your immune system is back to normal.

What we often forget is that exercise is a stress (albeit a positive one) on the body when we’re healthy. But, if your body’s already under stress—in this case your immune system is working hard, firing on all cylinders as it processes the vaccine—then adding extra stress through exercise may do more harm than good.

 

Working out after the vaccine

Listen to your body and be a little more conservative about working out in the days after being vaccinated. It’s only temporary! Think about going for a nice walk outside, or trying that 20 Min Yoga to Release or Full Body Stretch class you haven’t gotten around to.

Experts agree that even if you’re not experiencing any severe symptoms, your body is still working to mount an immune response. And though you might feel like pushing ahead with your Peak Performance Challenge, it’s a good idea to show your body some love if it needs it. 

Remember, a rest day is not a wasted day when it comes to fitness and your overall well-being. You’ll be back to crushing it in a few days.

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