AUTHOR: JANE SANDWOOD
Your immune system is remarkable, defending the body against bacteria and harmful microorganisms that can make you unwell. From the common cold to more serious illnesses, it is always fighting to make sure that you stay healthy. In order to make sure that your immune system is working to it’s very best, you need to eat well, get plenty of sleep, and regularly exercise. In fact, exercise has a marked effect on the immune system in more ways than one. The time that you spend working out at home or in the gym can make all the difference to your health.
Increasing your immune cells
Scientific studies have shown that the number of immune cells that the body produces while you are exercising increases. Research done by the University of Bath studied a large group of people that were taking part in endurance sports and found that amount of immune cells that the body produced in the bloodstream were 10% greater than normal. However, once the participants had finished exercising, the immune cells appeared to decrease. At first researchers were concerned that exercising was causing more harm than good, until they realized that what was actually happening was the new immune cells were being distributed to other areas of the body, such as the lungs, heart and brain to help fight against illness and infection.
Looking after your airways
When you exercise, your heart rate increases, your airways and lungs then need to work harder in order to produce the oxygen to pump the blood around the body. Your rapid and deep breathing when you exercise is an extremely important part of improving your immune system. When you workout, your body is pushing out bacteria, spores and other particles that can damage our bodies, such as mold, fungi and mildew. If you have problems with mold in your home, it is important that you get a professional to deal with it, however exercise can help protect our bodies against the effects. It will keep your lungs working more efficiently to keep the airways clear.
How much exercise do I need to do?
Research has shown that only 20 minutes exercise every day can help to boost your immune system. The rise in body temperature helps to prevent harmful bacteria from growing and also helps the body to fight infection, in the same way that it does if you get a fever. Good forms of exercise include taking a brisk walk, doing an aerobics video, going for a swim or having a bike ride. Exercise has also been shown to reduce the production of stress hormones - this also decreases the chance of you getting ill. It raises endorphins, helping you to feel happier and more energetic - this in itself is good for your immune system.
Regular physical activity is essential for your health and wellbeing. It boosts the production of immune cells, helping the body to fight viruses and infection the natural way.