Boost the Immune System with Exercise

Edited by Sobi, Grimm, Dougie, Eng

Studies show that the immune system goes though physiological changes during and after exercise. There are other factors that may also influence the immune system, a few of them are; nutrition, emotional stress, and lack of adequate sleep. For well balanced health it is important to eat well, get plenty of rest, get some form of exercise and emotionally relax.

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When we exercise, we breathe deeper, clearing the natural mucous from the lungs, and bringing more oxygen deeper into the lungs. Our heart rate increases, transporting oxygen and white blood cells faster throughout our circulatory system. Our body temperature also increases which may help to prevent infections. Moderate exercise slows the release of stress hormones.

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Studies also show that too much exercise can temporarily decrease immunity, making you more susceptible illness. During intense exercise cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) are secreted and which decrease immunity temporarily. This research shows that more than 90 minutes of high-intensity endurance exercise can make athletes susceptible to illness for up to 72 hours after the exercise session.

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Steps to Boosting the Immune System with Exercise

  1. 1
    Finding your level of moderate
    According to professor David Nieman, Dr. PH., of Appalachian State University; when moderate exercise is repeated on a near-daily basis there is a cumulative effect that leads to a long-term immune response. His research showed that those who walk at 70-75 percent of their VO2 Max for 40 minutes per day had half as many sick days due to colds or sore throats as those who don't exercise." (VO2 is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption as measured during incremental exercise, most typically on a motorized treadmill.) What is moderate to one person may not be to another. It is usually best to begin slow and work your way slowly to more intense exercise if that is your goal. A moderate exercise program may consist of:

    Finding the Max.jpg
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  2. 2
    Bicycling a few times a week
    Many cities and towns have bike paths, with some being at parks and along rivers. In many areas there are groups that ride together and they have different levels, beginners to well seasoned.

    Fort Collins Velodrome Association bicycle races @ CSU Oval.jpg
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  3. 3
    20 - 30 minute daily walks
    Walking and hiking trails may be found anywhere from small towns to big cities and at state and federal parks. Some walk inside malls during inclement weather.

    Walk 1.jpg
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  4. 4
    Going to the gym every other day
    Gyms, have numerous types of equipment to build your strength and endurance. They have treadmills for walking and jogging.

    Gym weights section.jpg
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  5. 5
    Playing golf
    Playing 18 holes is equivalent to walking about five miles. Not only are you walking, you using many muscle groups by carrying, or pulling your clubs, twisting and swinging your body when hitting the ball.

    Golf Green Island.jpg
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  6. 6
    Housework is exercise
    You are on your feet and moving as you are bending, lifting, vacuuming, washing windows, washing clothes and just generally cleaning.

    Swabbing the floors.jpg
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  7. 7
    Yard work
    Mowing, raking, trimming hedges, and gardening may be considered a little more intense physically than house work. You are bending, lifting, stretching and pushing a mower which all gives your body a good workout.

    Little girl mowing the lawn.jpg
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  8. 8
    There are various forms and levels of yoga. Yoga is more than just stretches. The various forms consist of focusing on breathing techniques, nonstop series of yoga poses, focusing your mind and balance. Yoga can be gentle stretches or power yoga which builds muscle strength.
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Tips and Suggestions for Exercising Safely

  • When beginning an exercise program, it usually is best to start slow and build up your endurance. If you feel pain, your body is telling you to slack off, you are doing too much and may injure yourself. Only you can differentiate between sore stiff muscles from lack of use and pain from over doing things. Use common sense and always err on the side of caution for health and safety.
  • Hire a personal trainer: They can be an excellent resource to help you learn how to use equipment safely and effectively. They can also guide and instruct you in achieving your goals. They can be utilized for a few hours or for long periods of time.
  • Yoga: It is best to choose a style that fits your current physical abilities. Most communities offer different yoga style classes at different levels. Talk to several instructors to find out which one interests you.
  • Hiking and walking: Wear well fitting shoes and comfortable clothes. It may be beneficial to start out slow and build your endurance.
  • Golfing: Lessons may be best for beginners as they will teach you the correct way to hold and swing the clubs to prevent injury and for bets distance with hitting the ball. Lessons may be half a day or one or two weeks long and at different levels.
  • Bicycling: Always wear a correct fitting bicycle helmet, and use the correct size bike for your body size. Most cities and states have bicycle laws and it is important to know them for your safety and others.

Warnings When Starting a New Exercise Program

  • Always contact your healthcare provider for advise, before starting and/or stopping any exercise regime. Use caution if you are currently ill, your immune system may already be compromised and the additional stress of physical exertion may over tax it. Generally speaking, if you have very mild cold symptoms, no fever, light stretches and/or short walks may make you feel better and possibly boost your immune system. Moderate and especially intense exercise could possibly extend or make any current illness worse.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Article Info

Categories : Physical Health

Recent edits by: Dougie, Grimm, Sobi

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