Exercise and immune system function – how they affect your health

endurance athletes & immunity

Battling another cold or cough? Feeling tired again? Taking a walk daily or following an exercise routine several times a week can help you feel healthier.

Exercise not only strengthens your immune system, fights off viral and bacterial infections, but also decreases chances of developing heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. In this article on VKool site, you are going to discover the connection between exercise and immune system function for improving your health and maintaining your fitness.

Exercise And Immune System Function Connection

1. Scientific Research On The Connection Between Exercise And Immune System

exercise and immune system

There are several facts about connection between exercise and immune system.

Scientific studies indicate that physical activities can help by flushing harmful bacteria out of the lungs. Hence, people can decrease chances of having a cold, flu and other airborne illness. Additionally, by exercising regularly, it can help people flush out carcinogens, cancer-causing substances by increasing the output of toxins and wastes, such as sweat and urine.

Read on: How to prevent the flu and cold naturally – top 14 tips revealed

Exercise also sends white blood cells (defense cells of the body) and antibodies through the body at a rapid rate. Since, these white blood cells or antibodies circulate more quickly, they can detect illnesses and conditions earlier than they can normally. Besides, increased circulating blood rate may trigger the hormone release that warns immune cells of intruding viruses and bacteria.

The rise of body temperature while exercising can prevent the growth of bacteria, thereby allowing the human’s body to fight off the infection effectively. This is similar to fever symptoms in the body.

Next to the facts of exercise and immune system for illness prevention, exercise can help slow down or prevent the release of hormones related to stress. And in reality, stress is a factor that increases chances of illness.

However, while exercise is very beneficial, don’t overdo it. Those who exercise regularly are often cautioned not to do vigorous exercises in the hopes of boosting the immune system benefits. Long-term exercises such as intense gym training or marathon running may actually lower amounts of white blood cells that circulate through the body and boost the presence of hormones related to stress.

Studies also have indicated that those who benefit from starting or sticking to an exercise routine are people who go from a “couch potato” lifestyle to an energetic lifestyle. Normally, a moderate exercise program may consist of:

  • Daily walks ( about 20 – 30 minutes a day)
  • Biking alone or with children several times per week
  • Playing golf a few times a month regularly
  • Following a gym workout routine every other day

In short, exercise can help people feel better about themselves, just by making them feel healthier and more energetic. So go ahead, join an aerobics center or go for a walk and feel healthier and better for it.

Read on: 18 health benefits of walking everyday outside instead of driving

2. How Exercise Boosts The Immune System

exercise and immune system

When exercising regularly, your body will get a number of benefits for health. By following a regular exercise program, your heart will get stronger and it will be able to pump up more blood through your body as you work out. Plus, your lungs will get better equipped at dishing it out and handling oxygen to your body. Moreover, your muscles will get stronger when you exercise them often. Similarly, your immune system can also get benefits from physical activities. Doctors and scientists have also indicated that exercise is beneficial in strengthening immune system by giving a boost to the body cells that act to attack bacteria. These body cells appear to act more slowly in those who rarely exercise or don’t exercise more than in people that do. Accordingly, if you exercise regularly, your immunity will be better to fight off bacteria that may cause you to have illness. Though this effect just lasts for several hours after exercising, it is good enough to keep you healthier than you will be if you do no exercise.

Read on: 23 health benefits of exercise & physical activity for adults

3. Side Effects Of Intensive Exercises On Your Immunity

exercise and immune system

When it comes to connection between exercise and immune system, get clear that intensive exercises are not good for your immunity as well as your overall health.

If you work out too hard or move to a higher level too fast with intensive exercises, this condition may actually hurt your immunity. Since you body could not adapt to higher exercise level and your body has no time to take some rest. Even, too much exercise can make your immunity weaken. It is a reason why you feel weak and rundown when you are trained for a marathon or when you exercise in a short time. To avoid side effects of intensive exercises on your immunity, be sure that you can give your body enough rest and follow the right workout program throughout levels.

4. How To Improve Your Immune System With Exercise

exercise and immune system

Now, let’s discover how to improve your immune system with exercise. The fact is that you don’t need to be an athlete star to strengthen your immunity through exercise. Simply, what you need to act is to take a walk for about 30 minutes a day or hit the gym several times a week. This helps speed up the body cells for fighting off bacteria. As a result, you will get rid of illnesses and get healthy in no time. New studies have also indicated that those who exercise often usually take less sick days per year than people who do not. Hence, try incorporating more workouts into your day for boosting your immunity over time.

5. Things You Should Know About Exercising While Sick

exercise and immune system

When it comes to the connection between exercise and immune system, you should also get clear about things related to exercising while sick.

Basically, it is safe to work out at a low intensity when you have some symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat or sneezing. If these symptoms diminish after you exercise for the first several minutes, the exercise intensity is allowed. However, exercise is not recommended for those with some symptoms such as fever, sore joints, sore muscles, vomiting, a cough with mucous and diarrhea. If you have one or some of these symptoms, let your condition be recovered totally, then start your exercise program later.

Wait 2 weeks after your symptoms subside before you engage in an intensive training. When returning to the training, allow 2 days of low exercise intensity for every day you’re sick before you jump back into the normal training program.

In short, it is recommended that you can exercise but do not overdo. If you only have a pretty head cold, working out with moderate exercises is ok. Avoid exercising if your illness or cold is systemic that involves other body organs, systems and parts. Also, engage in moderate regular exercise before you get a flu shot. Physical activities can help improve the body’s response to your vaccine as well as enhance your immune system to your flu.

6. Endurance Athletes & Immunity

exercise and immune system

For endurance athletes, the key to improve their immune system is allowing their bodies and their immune systems time to take some rest and recover (that can be referred to both passive recovery and active recovery). Endurance athletes with some symptoms of overtraining, like increased resting heart rate, irritability, continuing fatigue, and slower recovery heart rate should reduce the frequency and intensity of endurance exercise training in order to create a balance between health and exercise.

7. Other Factors Impacting Your Immune System

exercise and immune system

Beside the connection between exercise and immune system above, you should get clear about some other factors of physical activities affecting your immunity.

For instance, the risk of your infection may be amplified when factors connected with your immune function are present, such as exposure to diseases during travel, severe mental stress, lack of sleep, weight loss and malnutrition. To counter the risk of infection, you should consider some guidelines below, which have a connection to immunity and protection of the things against diseases:

  • Maintaining optimal levels of vitamin & mineral stores in your body

Reducing your life stress and distractions

  • Avoiding fatigue and overtraining
  • Avoiding rapid weight loss
  • Having adequate sleep
  • Avoiding large crowds and sick people if possible
  • Avoiding putting the hands to nose and eyes
  • Getting flu shots before the flu season or during the winter months or when flu epidemics are present.

Bottom line:

The aim of this article is to help you have a full understanding about the connection between exercise and immune system function. Hope that you find useful information from the writing. Comment on it or share it with other people. Thanks for reading and see you in the up coming posts!

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