Exercise and Your Immune System

How can exercise boost your immune system?

One of the pillars of lifestyle medicine is physical activity. How can regular, consistent exercise help you take back control of your health?

Regular exercise has been shown to improve our immune function. Researchers believe this is because consistent physical activity increases the body’s immune cells. The more there are, the more places in the body they can work. Physical activity promotes this movement by sending more white blood cells out in the body where they can fight viruses and bacteria.

Physical activity provides both immediate and long-term health benefits.

Immediate benefits include:

  • Improving sleep quality
  • Reducing feelings of anxiety
  • Reducing blood pressure

Consistent physical activity can provide the following long-term health benefits:

  • Improving brain health – patients who regularly exercise have a reduced risk of developing dementia and depression
  • Improving heart health – consistent exercise lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes
  • Lower the risk of certain types of cancer, including bladder, breast, colon, esophageal, kidney, and lung
  • Reducing the risk of weight gain
  • Improving bone health
  • Reducing the risk of falls by improving balance and coordination

When it comes to boosting your immune system, moderate-intensity exercise may be best. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get between 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

A healthy immune system protects our bodies from bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Consistent physical exercise boosts our immune response by:

  • Stimulating cellular activity, sending the immune boosting cells to work throughout our bodies
  • Raising our body temperature, which may prevent bacteria from growing and help our body address infections
  • Helping us sleep better so our body has time to rest and repair itself
  • Reducing inflammation by keeping the immune response in check.

Our medical experts at Healthy Conditions can help you understand the link between physical activity and whole body health, and help you create an actionable plan.

Leave a Reply