If you’re looking to find ways to boost the immune system besides proper diet, sleep and vitamin supplements, exercise is a great option that has science behind it. There are some common worries associated with exercising, and there is also science aimed at disproving these worries. We’ll take a look at some of this science here as well as the types and amount of exercise that will have the strongest impact on your immune system.
How Does Exercise Benefit the Immune System?
Before we begin, it’s been proven that there are real immune system benefits associated with sustained, light, moderate and even harder exercises. The effect of this benefit is cumulative, meaning this benefit adds up every time you work out to add a little bit more to your immune system every time you exercise. Each day you exercise slightly boosts your immune system, and some of this effect sticks around. According to certain studies, this number might be as much as a 40% boost. This boost is definitely noticeable, more so than almost any other thing that you could do.
In addition to this boost in immune system performance, exercise also fights inflammation. This can have a positive effect on your body’s ability to fight disease. If it is not having to fight inflammation, then your immune system is free to ultimately target disease-causing pathogens directly.
Can Extreme Workouts Suppress Immune Health?
One common worry associated with exercising boosting the immune system is that while everyone agrees that moderate sustained exercise helps, anything more serious will ultimately cause your body to experience a window of suppressed immunity. The reason behind this is believed to be that the body needs to work extra hard to repair muscles and to supply blood after extreme workouts. However, there is little danger of this, and ultimately even an extreme workout will provide more benefit than negative. Even with intense exercise, studies have shown that you still benefit in both the short term and long term.
Are Gyms Safe During COVID-19?
Another common worry is that you will become infected while at the gym. But something to remember is that the novel coronavirus is not transmitted by simply touching the virus, but by touching an infected surface then sometime later putting your hand to your mouth or nose. This can be countered by using hand sanitizer regularly while at the gym and wiping down machines and weights both before and after exercise. Most gyms require members to wear masks and practice social distancing as well, further improving their safety.
What’s the Best Exercise Routine for Immune Health?
For anyone looking to benefit from exercise, their goal should be at least 150 minutes a week (or at least 20 minutes a day) of moderate exercise. The single best exercise would be sustained cardio, but weight lifting that keeps your heart rate increased during the workout will also have the same effect. When it comes to immune health, your main goal is to keep your heart rate high enough to cause the positive immune system reaction. Light exercise like stretch yoga will not necessarily have the same effect unless you go a little harder, but ultimately anything that tires you out, keeps your heart rate active and works your muscles will boost your immune system.
Hopefully this helps you understand the benefit behind exercising to your immune system. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by starting a regular exercise routine, so take advantage of the benefits!