4 Ways Exercise Boosts Your Immune System
If what you eat plays such a big role in your immune system, then let’s look at how much of a role exercise plays. Exercise helps decrease your chances of developing heart disease. It also keeps your bones healthy and strong. We do not know exactly if or how exercise increases your immunity to certain illnesses, but there are several thoughts on how exercise boosts your immune system.
Some of these theories are:
- Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
- Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies or WBCs circulate more rapidly, so they could detect illnesses earlier than they might have before. However, no one knows whether these changes help prevent infections.
- The brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing. This temperature rise may help the body fight infection better. (This is similar to what happens when you have a fever.)
- Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Some stress increases the chance of illness. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness.
So, while exercise boosts your immune system people who already exercise should not exercise more just to increase their immunity. Heavy, long-term exercise (such as marathon running) could actually cause harm.
Studies have shown that people who follow a moderately energetic lifestyle, benefit most from starting (and sticking to) an exercise program.
A moderate program can consist of:
- Bicycling with your children a few times a week
- Taking daily 20 to 30 minute walks
- Going to the gym every other day
- Playing golf regularly
Tony Bianchino is a Nationally Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist
See more about Tony on our website Out Run Your Fork.com
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