How Does Exercise Boost Your Immune System?
April 19, 2021
How is the Immune System Impacted by Exercising?
Think of exercising as a way to strengthen your ENTIRE body, not just your muscles and joints. When you put yourself through challenging situations or within a challenging environment, you are forcing your body to adapt accordingly! Exercise has the ability to impact your immune system through a variety of different avenues. The following are prominent examples of how the immune system is directly impacted through exercise.
Increased blood flow
This increases the distribution of essential nutrients through the body. An individual who is well nourished is in a better position to successfully fight off bacteria and viruses.
Helps to clear bacteria out of the airways
Exercise forces an elevation in heart rate and breathing rate. As energy is used, oxygen is needed in keeping muscles and organs well fueled. Oftentimes, when the respiratory rate is forced to increase, it can help clear breathing airways. This can be extremely important in limiting the risk of developing upper respiratory diseases such as the flu and the cold.
Elevated body temperature
Think of this as almost as having a fever. A fever is a result of the body elevating its core temperature to help fight off infection. If the form of exercise is vigorous enough, the core temperature of the body rises and can provide a similar effect in helping the body get rid of any foreign invaders. If you are already sick and exhibiting symptoms it may be best to cut back on the intensity or even take a few rest days.
Strengthens antibodies to help fight infection
Exercise can not only help the immune system increase its response rate to diseases but can also increase its response to injury. This puts the body in a better position to fight off diseases quicker, but also recovery from an injury or damaged tissues.
Reduction in stress hormones
Exercise is a great way to channel chronic stress. Chronic stress can cause elevated heart rate and elevated blood pressure amongst other things. When the body is focused on figuring out how to manage stress, it sometimes cannot devote the necessary resources to continually fight off foreign invaders.
Inflammation is never good. Exercise can help by assisting the body in flushing out toxins at a faster rate and improving certain areas of the body that might be contributing to the widespread inflammation such as improved metabolism and improved digestion.
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