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How Does Exercise Impact the Immune System?

Exercise and its impact on immune system. (Image by Dejan Krstevski / Pexels)
Exercise and its impact on immune system. (Image by Dejan Krstevski / Pexels)
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Soniya Y

It’s no secret that exercise is great for your body's aesthetics and fitness, but did you know it may also be good for your immune system?

For decades, doctors and other health experts have been recommending exercise as a way to improve overall health. Recent scientific studies have begun to shed light on the mechanism of how exercise affects the immune system.

Exercise can help keep your body healthy and strong, which may support the functions of your immune system. A well-exercised body uses oxygen more efficiently, which helps reduce stress and support your immunity.

To understand how this works, we've got to talk about the immune system a bit. The most important thing to know is that it's responsible for protecting your body from things that might make you sick or injured, like germs and infections.


But how does your body do that, exactly?

Our immune system are the first line of defense in our body. (Image by Hal Gatewood / Unsplash)
Our immune system are the first line of defense in our body. (Image by Hal Gatewood / Unsplash)

We all have billions of cells in our bodies that play a major role in keeping us healthy. They consistently fight off viruses, bacteria, and other harmful substances. Immune cells are kind of like soldiers β€” they patrol the body looking for invaders (like germs), and then they attack the invaders if they find them.

Other immune cells work on the defense lines, identifying invaders before they even enter the body, so to speak. Others produce antibodies that can recognize certain types of invaders and attack them before they cause infection or illness.


So Does Exercise Boost Your Immune System?

Moderate exercise each day keeps your immune system healthy. (Image by Bruno Nascimento / Unsplash)
Moderate exercise each day keeps your immune system healthy. (Image by Bruno Nascimento / Unsplash)

Yes, it does. With exercise, you can give your immune system a boost from the inside out.

Research shows that if you work out at a moderate intensity for 60 minutes or less almost every day, you'll gain benefits like reduced inflammation and boosted metabolism.

In addition to boosting your immunity, working out regularly helps protect against heart disease, diabetes, dementia, depression, and arthritis, among other issues.


Here are six ways that exercise may benefit your immune system.

1. Physical activity boosts cellular immunity

Makes your body more strong to fight against infection. (Image by Gabin Vallet / Pexels)
Makes your body more strong to fight against infection. (Image by Gabin Vallet / Pexels)

According to a 2019 review of studies, moderate-intensity exercise can boost cellular immunity by enhancing immune cell circulation throughout the body. This allows your body to better prepare for an infection in the future by identifying it sooner.

These findings suggest that regular exercise can boost immune defense activity by making you more resistant to infection. It helps you to cope with infectious pathogens that have already established themselves in your body.


2. Helps you sleep better

Exercise provides better sleep. (Image by Lux Graves / Unsplash)
Exercise provides better sleep. (Image by Lux Graves / Unsplash)

There's a lot of research into how much sleep we need and how the sleep cycle works. However, in a nutshell, it looks like getting more sleep helps you defend yourself against all sorts of diseases and illnesses.

That's where exercise comes in. Exercise can help you get more restful sleep by improving your quality of life as well as your overall mood.


3. Prevents you from serious illness

Keeps serious illness at bay. (Image by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash)
Keeps serious illness at bay. (Image by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash)

Exercising has been shown to increase immune cell production in the body, which improves our body's ability to fight off infections and other illnesses.

It reduces cardiovascular risk factors, prevents or delays the development of type 2 diabetes, increases good cholesterol, and lowers resting heart rate.


4. Reduces stress and anxiety

Helps in reducing stress and anxiety. (Image by Elisa Ventur / Unsplash)
Helps in reducing stress and anxiety. (Image by Elisa Ventur / Unsplash)

After a long day at work, exercise is a terrific way to de-stress.

This is because exercise can slow down the release of stress hormones and positively influence brain chemicals that affect your mood.

It can also help you handle stress more easily β€” meaning that you will have less anxiety and a better mood about stressful situations.


5. Reduces Inflammation

Reduces inflammation. (Image by Towfiqu Barbhuiya / Unsplash)
Reduces inflammation. (Image by Towfiqu Barbhuiya / Unsplash)

Inflammation is a typical immune system response to viruses or toxins that your body encounters.

Acute inflammation isn't always a concern, but when it's uncontrolled, it can become chronic and lead to a variety of inflammatory disorders.

Exercise helps you in reducing this by helping your immunity deal with the viruses and toxins in their early stages.


6. Helps in elevating body temperature

Elevates your body temperature to keep the blood flowing. (Image by Anshu / Unsplash)
Elevates your body temperature to keep the blood flowing. (Image by Anshu / Unsplash)

The more vigorously you work out, the harder your heart pumps and the faster your body moves. Hence, a lot of blood gets sent to your muscles during exercise.

Hence, your heart rate will also increase during a workout which maintains better blood flow in the body.


How much exercise do you need?

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. In addition to that, there should be two strength-training sessions per week, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Being physically active on most days of the week is a great way to improve your overall health and well-being. It's also a good place to start if you're trying to improve your immune system.


Key Takeway

So, is exercise good for the immune system? Yes, it’s good for every part of your body.

As you age, you may need more frequent check-ups and may develop certain medical conditions that require additional immunizations. You also need to be aware that certain medications or cancers may weaken your immune system. Physical exercise can help combat these issues.

Getting the recommended 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week helps increase your endurance and stamina. This translates into a better overall quality of life.


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Q. Do you workout everyday?

Yes

I miss my workout at times

37 votes so far

Edited by Aditya Singh
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