How Is Exercise Beneficial To The Immune System ?

How Is Exercise Beneficial To The Immune System ?

A study estimates that an average adult has approximately 2 to 3 respiratory infections per year. Even though one is exposed to pathogens all through the day, some people are more susceptible to cold or flu than others.

The risk factors associated with impaired functioning of the immune system are generally seen as old age, stress, cigarette smoking, over training, poor nutrition, fatigue and lack of sleep.

There is evidence to prove that one of the factors that enhance the immunity of the body is regular and moderate exercise. Many researches have found a correlation between moderate exercising and a strong immune system. Moderate exercise creates a positive response on the immune system by boosting the production of macrophages, which are cells that defend the body against the attack of bacteria. There are also many physiological changes that occur in the immune system due to exercise. While exercising, the immune cells are able to move throughout the body at a faster pace and thereby, become better equipped to combat bacteria and virus. Although after the exercise, the immune system regains normalcy within a few hours but regular exercise is believed to make these changes relatively more long lasting. In the longer run, repetitive and moderate form of exercise on a daily basis creates a cumulative effect, which leads to a long-term stronger immune response.

Even relatively low levels of aerobic exercise can increase the capacity of protection of the immune system. Regular brisk walking for 20 to 30 minutes every day is said to be an ideal training program for maintaining a healthy immunity as it can augment many defenses of the immune system, including the antibody and T cell response. Exercise also has a positive effect on one’s mental prosperity. Regular aerobic exercise can help relieve mild to moderate degrees of depression and anxiety. People who exercise also show lesser traits of loneliness and anger. However, till now it has not been deciphered whether exercise boosts the immune system directly or works through a link with the brain and nervous system.

It is also cardinal to comprehend that exercising builds immunity only when done within limits. Long durations of vigorous and intense exercise is said to reduce immunity. Research shows that more than 90 minutes of high intensity exercise renders the human body more susceptible to illness in the subsequent 72 hours. This temporary decline in the functioning of the immune system is caused due to the production of certain hormones as a result of physical exertion. These hormones are essentially cortisol and adrenaline that are known as stress hormones. These stress hormones increase the blood pressure and cholesterol levels and suppress the immune system. People, who go through over trainings such as athletes, frequently show symptoms of over training syndrome, which is characterized by increased resting heart rate, slower recovery heart rate, irritability, general heaviness and fatigue. Such symptoms call for toning down of one’s training regime. Also, one should avoid intense exercise during times of illness since the immune system is already taxed by fighting against the infection. At times like these, vigorous exercise might just make things worse. 

Regular and consistent exercising can definitely lead to substantial benefits in the immune system over the long term. However, one needs to be careful about not crossing the line!

More Articles :

How Is Exercise Beneficial To The Immune System