An easy way to boost your immune system against infections.
According to experts, doing daily exercise can help your body’s natural defence system to fight infections.
Past studies show that habitual moderate to vigorous intensity workouts can boost the immune system.
A review suggests that moderate to vigorous intensity exercise on a regular basis helps reduce the chance of respiratory infection, several diseases and some types of cancer.
Seemingly with each session of exercise, immune cells are exchanged between the tissues and the blood, contributing to immune surveillance and so reducing risk of illness.
Immune surveillance is a process through which foreign substances such as viruses, bacteria, or tumour cells are watched and destroyed.
Everyday physical activity in the short-term strengthens the immune system to fight pathogens, including coronavirus.
Also, in the long-run it lowers infection risk by slowing down the immune system decline that naturally happens with aging.
Dr Turner and Dr Campbell in this review consider whether exercise could have a negative impact on immune function or if athletes are more susceptible to infections than the rest of us.
They find that if athletes get more infections it is because of the amount of travelling and exposure to new pathogens in different countries or at social events.
Other factors that make athletes more prone to infection are psychological stress, poor sleep and poor diet.
Dr John Campbell, study co-author, said:
“People should not fear that their immune system will be suppressed by exercise placing them at increased risk of Coronavirus.
Provided exercise is carried out according to latest government guidance on social distancing, regular exercise will have a tremendously positive effect on our health and wellbeing, both today and for the future.”
Daily aerobic exercise like cycling, walking, or running or even more vigorous exercise are all useful.
For those with a health issue that may restrict the amount of exercise that can be done then ‘moving more’ is better than doing nothing.
Strength training at home such as Pilates, weight lifting, shoulder presses or bench presses can help movement, flexibility, and maintenance of muscles.
About the author
The study was published in the journal Exercise Immunology Review (Simpson et al., 2020).
Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.
This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.
It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.
I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.