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How Exercise Benefits Immunity

Are you looking for natural ways to boost your immune system? Wondering how to protect yourself from germs during your coronavirus quarantine? You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that exercise is a fantastic immunity booster.

We’ll explore what the science says about why that is, and dive into the best exercises for immune system health, in this guide.

 

People working out in a gym

7 Possible Reasons Why Exercise Benefits Immunity

While researchers aren’t 100% certain about how exercise and your immune system are connected, they do have a few possible theories as to why it’s beneficial:


1. Exercise May Flush Out Bacteria

When you exercise, it’s believed that your exhalations help flush out bacteria from your lungs and airways.

This is helpful for keeping bacteria out of your system. And it may also be why exercise may reduce your chances of getting a cold, flu, or another possible respiratory illness.

 

2. Exercise Changes Your Antibodies

When your body senses a foreign invader, such as bacteria, parasites, or a virus, it produces antibodies. Your immune system creates these proteins to fight off the harmful pathogens.

Researchers have discovered that exercise actually creates a shift in your body’s antibodies and white blood cells (WBCs). WBCs are your immune system’s response to combat sickness and disease.

They learned that as you exercise, your body circulates these antibodies and WBCs at a much faster rate. This may cause them to pick up on pathogens sooner, according to research.

The quicker this happens, the better your chances are of fighting off the foreign invader before it can wreak havoc on your system and spread further.

3. Exercise Raises Your Body Temperature

Your body’s natural temperature rises when you’re in the middle of a workout.

Science shows this increase may be helpful for preventing the spread of bacteria growth, which means you may be better prepared to fight off infections.

Bet you’ll feel a bit differently about your post-workout sweat now, right?

4. Exercise Keeps Stress Hormones at Bay

Researchers say exercise helps keep your stress hormones in check.

When you exercise, you slow down how fast these hormones are released into your system, and this may keep you safe from stress-related illnesses that affect your body.

5. Exercise Provides Mental Health Benefits

Exercise is considered an immunity booster because it can help you feel better overall.

Studies have shown that exercising can make you feel healthier, more energetic, and better about yourself, three perks anyone can benefit from.

6. It May Give Vaccines an Extra Boost

One body of research concluded that exercise gives your vaccines a natural boost by increasing T-cells. These are found in your blood and help kill germs. But they also produce natural killer cells to combat pathogens in your body.

Talk about a double win.

7. Exercise Decreases Inflammation

Exercise may be responsible for lowering inflammatory cytokines in the body, which are cells that can negatively impact immunity and cause inflammation.

By lowering these proteins, you may help prevent serious conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and even some cancers, as the research notes.

So now that you know why exercise is so essential for your health, you’re probably wondering which activities are best.

 

Person walking up stairs in athletic shoes

The Best Exercises for Boosting Immunity

The good news is that a moderately active lifestyle is enough to reap all the incredible health benefits we just covered.

You can boost your immune system and keep it healthy by:

  • Riding your bike a few times a week
  • Walking daily for 20-30 minutes
  • Playing regular rounds of golf
  • Sticking to a yoga routine
  • Swimming

Anyone can participate in these low-stress activities. If you’re just kicking off your exercise routine, start with a daily walk, and then begin incorporating one of the above activities a few days a week.

Already an avid exerciser? You don’t need to up this any further. Going overboard tends to have the opposite effect and may put your body under too much stress. Just staying active regularly is enough to see positive results.

So if you’ve ever needed another reason to get your butt off the couch, just think about how miserable you are when you’re sidelined with a cold or the flu.

Now get up and get moving!

 

References: 

- https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002223.htm
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27750511

 

 

 

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