Exercise and Immune Health - What You Need to Know
Your immune system is a beautiful thing. It helps protect you from illness and disease. But to do that, it needs to be strong and functioning correctly, with enough support to protect even better.
The best ways to support your immune system are to:
- Avoid smoking and only drink alcohol in moderation
- Eat a colorful and varied diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Get regular exercise
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce stress
- Wash your hands regularly
How does exercise support the immune system?
Exercise is one of the main pillars of maintaining good health. It reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure, helps body weight maintenance, and protects you against various diseases.
The immune system is particularly responsive to exercise. In 2019 the Journal of Sport and Health Science published a scientific review that showed exercise:
- Improves your immune response
- Reduces your risk of illness risk
- Reduces inflammation
Researchers believe that exercise:
- Increases blood and lymph flow as your muscles contract
- Increases the circulation of immune cells
- Promotes recruitment of specialized immune cells which destroy bacteria and viruses (like T-cells)
Please don't overdo it
Although exercise is good for you, you should not overdo it. If you already exercise, you do not need to increase this to boost your immunity. Regular moderate exercise is all you need to support your immune system. In fact, if you do too much heavy exercise (such as marathon running), it can negatively affect your immunity.
The key is balance. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults need a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity every week. As long as you are achieving this, you will help support your natural immune system.
Exercise for health
Regardless of whether you feel your immunity needs a boost, exercise is positive for your wellbeing. It makes you feel more energetic, boosts your mood, and makes you feel healthier. And it doesn't have to be strenuous. Even a walk is beneficial. So, if you're debating going for a stroll, get those walking shoes on. You will feel better for it.
The bottom line is moderate regular exercise is good for your health and your immunity. And, if you still feel your immune system needs support, then immune support supplements can help.