I want to discuss how exercise can help boost and strengthen your immune system, which exercises are best, and the importance of avoiding over-exercising. (Yes! This is a case where more exercise is not always better!)
HOW DOES EXERCISE HELP THE IMMUNE SYSTEM???
First, let's talk about how exercise can boost & strengthen your immune system. Did you know that regular exercise can...
Lead to a higher number of white blood cells, which fight infections! It enables your body to detect illnesses earlier and gives you the upper hand!
Promote good circulation in your body which stimulates lymphatic movement. Lymphatic movement allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely, removing toxins, and allowing the lymphatic system to do its job more effectively.
Due to increased oxygen input/output, while you exercise, regular physical activity helps to flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways and increases your lung capacity; giving your body more life-giving oxygen!
The temporary rise in temperature during physical activity helps to prevent bacteria from growing in your body!
Decreases inflammation! By increasing your muscle mass and decreasing your fat mass, you are boosting your metabolism, increasing your body strength, stamina, and reducing toxic storage and fat-producing inflammation (chronic inflammation is the underlying cause for EVERY chronic illness, disease, and ultimately death)!
Help reduce stress and slow down the release of stress hormones, cortisol, and insulin, which lower immunity!
WHICH TYPES OF EXERCISE ARE BEST FOR THE IMMUNE SYSTEM?
Now let's talk about the best types of exercise to boost your immune system:
Strength Training. Why does it not surprise me that strength training and muscle work come up as the #1 best exercise for boosting your immune system?!? Here is why: When you are engaging in strength training exercises, you are improving your body's strength and stamina. Improving strength and stamina can lead to making your entire body and bodily systems stronger! You are also building muscle mass and reducing fat mass and as stated above, Removing toxic fat storage reduces inflammation. Bonus, you are also improving your balance, coordination, and flexibility!
Walking, Hiking, Biking. Increased aerobic activity
HIIT Workouts. High-Intensity Interval Training. Long gone are the long treadmill endurance activities. They have found that it's shorter bursts of high energy output that have the best weight loss and immune-boosting results. HIIT workouts are where you engage in some type of vigorous movement, like jogging or hopping, as fast as you can for 20-60seconds, rest for 20-60seconds, and then repeat this using various movements for around 15-20 minutes. You aim for this type of activity just 2 or 3 times a week.
Other immune system boost activities would be yoga, deep breathing, stretching, meditation, and more.
DON’T OVERDO THE WORKOUTS!
I REPEAT.....DO NOT OVERDO THE WORKOUTS!
In order to get the most for boosting your immune system, you would want to aim for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week, (minimally speaking). What I need you to know is that you should avoid long, strenuous workouts. The workouts that push and drive you to the point of exhaustion. Your body views over-exercise as a form of stress and can actually lower your immune system function. you don't want that!!! How often and how long is really going to depend on where you are at personally and physically.
This is where self-love and self-acceptance come in and realizing this is not a job to be done, a race to win, but a lifestyle. A daily commitment and choice to do what is best and right for you. To show up for yourself every single day. For you, it might be 30 minutes, 3 times a week and that's great! For others, it may be 45 minutes to 1 hour, 5 days a week.
No matter where you are at, just show up for yourself! I can remember when 20-30 minutes 3 times a week seemed hard! And I have slowly built up to more and you will too! Allow yourself to be patient with your process and just keep moving forward one day and one step at a time.
The bottom line is that regular exercise can boost your immune system and help fight off infections. Exercise allows immune cells to perform effectively; it increases blood flow, reduces stress and inflammation, and can strengthen antibodies! So let's all keep moving!