Exercise to Boost Your Immune System
Feel a cold coming on? Are you tired all the time? You will feel better if you start taking daily walks or follow a basic exercise regimen. Committing to at least 3 times a week. This also is important to boost your immune system.
by Greg Montoya
Besides maintaining a balanced diet to keep your body healthy, exercise is one of the best ways to boost your immune system. Exercise improves your self-confidence and mood. Also, exercising regularly (30-60 minutes a day) can help prevent respiratory problems and chronic health issues like heart disease.
A recent review publicized in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that obesity, aging, and inactivity negatively impacts the immune system. The study also found that a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise helps increase the immune system’s monitoring activities.
The following are some of the ways exercise can boost your immune system:
Boosts Immune Cell Function
Exercise improves lymph and blood flow as muscles contract and improve the circulation of immune cells. Thus, causing them to flow through the body at a higher rate. In a review published by Professor David Nieman (exercise immunology researcher) in the Journal of Sport and Health Science, participants who took a brisk 45-minute walk experienced an increase of immune cells flowing through the body. This was for approximately three hours following the walk.
Even a brisk 30-minutes of exercise increases your heart rate. Thus, causes immune cells (including T-cells), to leave areas like the spleen, lungs, and lymph nodes, to fight pathogens. While the effect doesn’t last long, it adds up gradually to bolster your body’s defenses.
Reduces the Risk of Chronic Conditions
Exercise helps keep stress hormones, like cortisol, under control. Chronic stress increases the risk of illness. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness. Regular exercise reduces the risks of serious conditions that include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
Reduces Cold/Flu Symptoms
A recent study carried out at Iowa State University determined that mice that ran on a treadmill regularly during a three-and-a-half-month period experienced less severe flu symptoms. This is compared to those that didn’t exercise. It was believed that the repeated stress from regular, moderate exercise may boost the body’s ability to react to other forms of stress. Such as those caused by the common cold or flu.
Years of evidence support the advice that the right amount of certain kinds of exercises promotes good health. Also, improves symptoms in those with compromised immune systems. It also shows that exercise benefits are also evident in those who have deficient immune systems. Also,those with autoimmune disorders.
Great Exercise Tips:
- Walking with friends outdoors to spend time together catching up
- Park farther away when shopping to increase your walking distance
- Running outside gets you in nature
- Hiking in the woods to enjoy beautiful scenery
- Take the steps instead of an elevator
- Ride a bike
- Get a pet – a dog will definitely give you a reason to walk
- Consider a yoga class – works on strength & flexibility, calms the mind, superb balance
Exercise in general offers immediate and long-term health benefits. Although additional research needs to be performed to confirm the exact connection between exercise and boosting the immune system, its benefits on overall health are well established.
As mentioned above, physical activity has been shown to improve health. Also, reduces the risk of several diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Most importantly, exercising regularly will not just enhance your quality of life, it will help you live a healthier more enjoyable life.