Sex, Coffee or Exercise: What You Can and Cannot Do After the COVID-19 Vaccine

Is it safe to exercise after getting the COVID-19 vaccine? Will it help improve or worsen the severity of side effects?

Nurse administering a COVID-19 vaccination to a woman’s left arm

The COVID-19 vaccination is scientifically proven to reduce a person’s risk of infection. If you do get infected, the jab can suppress the severity of your symptoms and protect you against different virus variants. You may experience some side effects that may impair your body’s ability to perform daily activities. This begs the question, can you exercise, drink coffee or have sexual intercourse immediately after getting the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Let’s discover what you can or cannot do post-vaccination.

Woman doing a side lunge on a yoga mat
Side effects of the vaccination are usually milder in people who are physically active.

Can You Exercise After Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The side effects are a result of the body’s immune response to the vaccine. As younger individuals have stronger immune systems, they tend to have a more intense immune response and consequently experience more side effects compared to the elders. However, this does not mean that people who do not get any side effects have weak immune systems or that the vaccine has been ineffective.

Essentially, each person has a unique immune system, which reacts differently to vaccination and this is difficult to predict. Generally, the side effects experienced are usually mild like a low-grade fever, muscle aches and fatigue which last for a day or two.

Real Health Medical’s Senior Traditional Chinese Medicine physician Brandon Yew cautions, “To be on the safe side, refrain from engaging in any form of strenuous activity, even if you’re not experiencing an obvious side effect. Though there isn’t an external, obvious manifestation of symptoms, your body can still be undergoing some form of immune stress. Thus, it is best to let the body rest and speed up recovery.” Separately, having sexual intercourse after getting the vaccine is physically safe.

Do You Need to Stay Away from Caffeine After Getting Vaccinated?

There are no reports which suggest a possible contraindication between the COVID-19 vaccine and caffeine consumption. If you feel well, it’s acceptable for you to have a cup of coffee after getting the vaccine.

Do also drink a sufficient amount of water daily. Adequate hydration will help prevent you from feeling ill, but can also shorten the duration and intensity of side effects.

Woman practicing diaphragmatic breathing on a bed
Diaphragmatic breathing can help restore lung function.

Steps You Can Take to Boost Recovery From the COVID-19 Vaccination

Physician Yew equates getting the vaccine to intentionally “infecting” a person’s body with the coronavirus. It’s also worth noting that the vaccine can give rise to some symptoms of COVID-19, albeit, to a lesser degree. Hence, you can consider activities that support recovery from mild vaccination side effects. 

Breathing exercises

A breathing routine can restore lung function using the diaphragm. You can break it into different phases to strengthen the diaphragm and encourage the nervous system to relax and restore itself progressively. Phase one involves deep breathing while on your back, phase two while on your stomach, phase three while sitting, and phase four while standing.

Humming while exhaling, meanwhile, can increase nitric oxide production in the body. This molecule enables better oxygen delivery throughout the body by dilating blood vessels. It can also support neural plasticity, which builds and repairs the nervous system. This breathing technique also provides stress relief by inducing a calming and soothing effect on the body. 

Consume herbal formulations

You can use simple Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbal formulations like Yin Qiao San (银翘散), Xiao Chai Hu Tang (小柴胡汤), Gan Lu Xiao Du Dan (甘露消毒丹), Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang (麻杏石甘汤) and San Ren Tang (三仁汤) to alleviate mild side effects of vaccination.

“Please always bear in mind that herbal formulations are only meant for generic use. Some people might benefit and some might not. Others may even experience a worsening of their existing condition or new problems. As such, it’s strongly recommended that you don’t purchase any of them to self-medicate without first undergoing a proper assessment from a clinical physician and professional guidance by a TCM practitioner”, says physician Yew.

Use acupressure point stimulation

Applying pressure to specific acupressure points can be equally effective in easing the side effects of taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Several points that you can use to elicit numbness or an aching sensation include Baihui (DU20), Sanyinjiao (SP6), Neiguan (PC6), Hegu (LI4), Taichong (LR3), Baihui (DU20), Shenmen (HT7), Danzhong (RN17), and Zusanli (ST36) Few of the points that you can use to elicit numbness or an aching sensation.

The best way to do this is to massage in a clockwise and anti-clockwise circular motion 20 times. Repeat for a minimum of three minutes per acupoint. If the side effects persist, seek the help of both a clinical and TCM physician.

Ultimately, the purpose of vaccination is to boost your immunity against COVID-19, so avoid undue stress to your body. You can temporarily refrain from exercise after getting the covid vaccine, while your body focuses on building up a strong immune response against the virus. Adopt a healthy diet that limits your consumption of fatty, processed or sugary foods. Get sufficient rest and hydrate regularly. This will allow your body the time it needs to build resistance against potential infection. Keep this guide on hand to help you transition through the entire phase seamlessly.

References

  1. NHS. Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.  [Accessed 19 January 2022] 
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Can You Exercise Before or After You’re Vaccinated for COVID-19?  [Accessed 19 January 2022] 
  3. Press and Information Office, Ministry of Interior, Republic of Cyprus. 2021. The vaccination plan now focuses on young people – Answers to basic questions.  [Accessed 19 January 2022] 
  4. UNICEF India. 2021. COVID-19 Dos and don’ts after vaccination. ed 19 January 2022] 
  5. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Coronavirus Recovery: Breathing Exercises.  [Accessed 19 January 2022] 

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