Exercise and Immunity
Could exercise be a key ingredient in preventing bacterial and viral infections and boosting your immune system? It turns out regular physical activity does play a role in keeping you healthy and preventing illnesses. That’s because exercise contributes to your overall health, which may help support your immune system’s functions.
Exercise benefits your body in a number of ways and boosting your immunity is just one of those. However, there is one important caveat: The frequency, duration and intensity of your workouts matter. Research shows that when it comes to boosting your immunity, moderate-intensity exercise is best. In general, exercising at a moderate to vigorous intensity for 60 minutes or less is optimal for the immune-boosting benefits of exercise. If you do this daily or almost daily, your immune and metabolic systems continue to strengthen, building on previous gains.
On the other hand, prolonged high intensity training especially without appropriate rest between sessions, can suppress your immune system. This is an important consideration if you’re a competitive athlete or are training for an endurance events like a marathon. In those cases, take extra care to give your body ample recovery time.
A healthy immune system protects your body from bacteria, viruses and other pathogens you encounter daily. Here are ways exercise may help your immune system:
- Stimulates cellular immunity;
- Raises body temperature;
- Helps you sleep better;
- Decreases risk of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases;
- Decreases stress and other conditions such as depression; and
- Reduces inflammation.
Making moderate exercise a regular part of your routine contributes to your overall health and helps support your immune system. If you’re new to exercise or have questions about how physical activity fits into your life, make sure to talk with a healthcare professional. They can help you determine the best type of exercise for you.
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