Boost Your Immune System with Exercise

Everyone is in panic mode with the news of the spread of this new coronavirus (COVID-19). Experts agree that seniors and overweight individuals are the most at risk. While there is no cure, there is something you can do about it: boost your immune system.

Your immune system is a defence system, primarily located in your gut. When bacteria or viruses enter the body, the immune system rallies specialized cells to fight off the invaders. Instead of waiting for doctors to hopefully perfect a vaccine, you can boost your immune system with exercise.

The Myth: Exercise Hurts Your Immune System

Since the 1980s, there was a widely held belief that exercise hurt – not helped – your immune system. This was based on a study that interviewed marathon runners after a race.

Researchers found many of the runners developed illnesses or infections post-race. What’s more, it was found that the number of immune cells decrease after an exercise session. [1]

Proven Benefit of Exercise for Immunity

In a study published in Frontiers in Immunology, researchers wanted to know whether there was more to the story from the research mentioned above. It turns out that exercise increases the number and efficiency of immune cells in the body.

It is true that immune cells decrease in number immediately following an exercise session; however, researchers found the number of cells was restored within hours of exercise. What’s more, the study suggests that while the number of immune cells is lower immediately following exercise, it’s because these cells are busy at work in other parts of the body, doing what they are supposed to: protecting you. [2]

Easy Exercises to Increase Immune Function

Exercise: It’s free, convenient, and proven to help you build a stronger immune system. Here are several exercises that you can do in the comfort of your home; click on the link for a video demonstration.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, here’s a workout for seniors with everyday household items to train with; no need to go to the gym!

Supplementation for a Strong Immune System 

Another easy way to increase your immune function is with vitamin D. Studies show that healthy levels of vitamin D contribute to the health of your immune system. When you’re low in vitamin D, you’re more likely to get sick.

Deficiency in vitamin D is common especially for older adults who have trouble with absorption. A bioavailable vitamin D supplement is a great way to get the recommended amount of vitamin D that you need for optimal wellness. [3]

 

So, boosting your immune system is as easy as integrating a bit of exercise and proper supplementation into your daily routine. With these simple steps, you'll be building stronger immunity and, ultimately, make yourself less prone to falling ill.

 

References

  1. Walsh NP, Gleeson M, Pyne DB, Nieman DC, Dhabhar FS, Shephard RJ, Oliver SJ, Bermon S, Kajeniene A. Position statement. Part two: Maintaining immune health. Exerc Immunol Rev. 2011;17:64-103.
  2. John P. Campbell, James E. Turner. Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan. Frontiers in Immunology, 2018; 9 DOI: 3389/fimmu.2018.00648.
  3. Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011;59(6):881–886. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755.

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