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Exercise and the Immune System

Exercise and the Immune System

Marie Hammer CPT

It’s that time of the year again! Everyone that you know is getting sick and there’s no stopping it. Well, it is no coincidence that the healthiest people usually don’t get sick as often as those who don’t make healthy lifestyle choices. Regular exercise plays a major part in a good overall health, which in turn helps keeping a healthy immune system. In a more direct way, working out promotes good circulation which helps the immune system by allowing its cells and substances to be efficient in doing their job. There is more research and studying to be done on this topic, but even as little as 20 minutes of exercise can influence how well the immune system functions.

Here is what we know: exercising activates the sympathetic nervous system, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine are then released into the blood and reacts in the suppressing of cytokines, including TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor). Stay with me now!! The main job of TNF is to boost immune responses and basically just regulate the immune cells. So even the smallest bouts of exercise can in turn positively influence the immune system.

Think about it this way, have you ever been so stressed out and then all the sudden you’re sick? Who here exercises as a way of reducing stress levels? *all hands go up*. Just another way that exercise improves overall health in different ways. So, before you skip a couple of workouts because you’re cozy in your blanket on the couch, think about staying healthy all fall and winter long! And don’t forget to eat those immune system boosting foods like fruits and veggies (especially that broccoli and spinach!) As always, exercise often, eat a good diet, and get enough sleep! – and don’t forget to wash your hands