Immune system with exercise
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The role of exercise in strengthening your immune system

If you don’t already have enough reasons to exercise, the health of your immune system is a big one to consider. Exercise benefits your physical and mental health and boosts your immune system. If you’re looking for reasons to start exercising, here are some important considerations relating to your immune system.

8 Benefits of exercise for your immune system

Raises body temperature

Like when your body temperature rises to fight a fever, your body temperature increases when you work out. While a high temperature caused by a fever means your body is working to fight an infection, scientists theorise exercising has a similar effect.

The rise in body temperate will continue throughout your workout, and remain for a brief period. The theory is raising your body temperature through exercise improves your immune system’s ability to fight infection.

Decreases risk of certain diseases

It’s no secret exercise is an effective way to manage your weight. But exercise can also lower your risk for certain diseases. Exercising improves your heart health and lowers your risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Exercise lowers your cholesterol and lowers your resting heart rate, helping your body fight against or develop infections. If you have a medical condition, exercising, eating a nutritious diet, and taking NR supplements can help you fight against illnesses more effectively.

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Decreases stress

When you experience high levels of stress, your blood pressure rises, releasing bad cholesterol in the body, and weakening your immune system. While exercise can strengthen your muscles, it also serves as an outlet for stress.

When you exercise, you release endorphins, improving your mood and decreasing anxiety and stress. Regular exercise helps manage your stress and in turn, helps support your immune system.

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Improves mental health disorders

In addition to reducing stress, exercise may also improve mood disorders. As mentioned earlier, your body releases endorphins when you exercise, which helps improve your mood. Over time, it becomes easier to regulate your mood.

Moderate exercise slows down the release of stress hormones, helping you feel more resilient when faced with challenges. Studies show the effect mood and mental health disorders can have on the immune system, and exercise positively impacts your mind, body, and immune system.

Increases your white blood cell count

White blood cells or leukocytes are essential to your immune system. White blood cells identify and destroy harmful bacteria and viruses and work to protect your body from infection. Studies show that regular exercise increases the number of white blood cells in your body.

As you exercise, your heart rate rises, rapidly pumping blood throughout the body. The increase in blood flow stimulates white blood cell production and boosts immune system functioning.

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Reduces inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s response to an irritant by burning and killing the germ, object, or parasite. However, repeated inflammation can lead to the weakening of your immune system, becoming chronic inflammation.

Too much or inappropriate inflammation can damage your cells and immune system leading to harmful diseases such as cancer or diabetes. Through regular exercise, you help your body reduce inflammation, preventing damage to your immune system. 

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You sleep better

Sleep is essential for a properly functioning immune system. When you go to sleep, your body uses the time to repair. Improper sleep prevents your body’s natural processes, and even skipping one night of sleep can wreak havoc on your body, mind, and immune system.

People who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia have found their symptoms to improve after participating in regular exercise. During sleep, your breathing and heart rate lower, allowing your immune system to have the energy to perform critical tasks.  However, to reap the sleep benefits of exercise, ensure you perform your workouts at least four hours before bedtime.

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Boosts circulation

By improving your circulation through exercise, you can boost your immune system. As you exercise and increase your heart rate, blood is pumped efficiently throughout your body. The increase in circulation allows your immune system cells to easily circulate through your body, allowing them to detect and fight infections.

Your white blood cells play an important role in this and while you exercise, you allow your body to circulate them. In addition to your immune cells, regular exercise also improves the circulation of oxygen and nutrients, improving your immune system because they need a constant supply.

Best exercises to boost your immune system

Walking

Walking is a great way to exercise, especially if you can’t remember the last time you worked out. If you have any medical conditions, such as heart disease, walking is the safest form of exercise to prevent a medical emergency.

When walking as your form of exercise, try to pick up the pace. Instead of a brief stroll, walk as if you’re late for an important meeting. You want to go fast enough for your heart rate to increase and aim to walk a mile in fifteen minutes.

Aerobics

Aerobic exercise stretches and strength training strategies to implement multiple areas of fitness. Again, this a great form of exercise if you struggle with any medical conditions, as it can be catered to your needs and abilities. Many people enjoy doing aerobic exercises in a swimming pool as it helps relax the muscles and allows you to train different areas of the body without strain.

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Strength-building exercises

Exercises that improve your stamina and strength, such as strength exercises, also do right by your immune system. When you participate in strength training, you create small tears in your muscles.

Your body then works to repair these tears, leading to larger appearing muscles. While strength training allows you to look buff, it also helps strengthen your immune system. Always make sure you’re staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water when doing these exercises!

There are plenty of ways exercise can benefit your immune system. From reducing inflammation and stress to reducing your risk of immune-compromising diseases, exercise has plenty of benefits. Whether you’re planning to work out for the first time in decades or are hoping to increase your frequency of exercise, the strength of your immune system is an important motivator.

Author’s bio: Ashley Nielsen earned a BS degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favourite music.

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