immune system and exercise

“When it comes to health and well-being, regular exercise is about as close to a magic potion as you can get.” – Tich Nhat Hanh

“The reason I exercise is for the quality of life I enjoy.” – Kenneth H. Cooper

If you’ve been paying attention at all, you know that the world has been bracing for a possible pandemic of a coronavirus known as COVID-19. While there is some controversy as to the actual severity of the global threat and the potential for mortality, it does deserve attention.

While physical fitness does not make one invincible or prevent infection from viruses like COVID-19, it does serve as a documented bulwark against illness and poor health.

The Link Between Exercise and Immune Systems

Contrary to much theorizing in the 1980s, it is increasingly understood that exercise and working out regularly actually boosts the body’s immune system. It was previously thought by many in the field that extreme physical exertion might suppress the immune system instead.

A study by researchers from the University of Bath supports this new thinking. According to one member of the research team,

“Prize Fellow Dr John Campbell from the University’s Department for Health explained: ‘It is increasingly clear that changes happening to your immune system after a strenuous bout of exercise do not leave your body immune-suppressed. In fact, evidence now suggests that your immune system is boosted after exercise — for example we know that exercise can improve your immune response to a flu jab.’”

Additionally, a paper submitted to the Journal of Sport and Health Science noted similar findings. Highlights from their study include:

  • Acute exercise is an immune system adjuvant (enhancement) that improves defense activity and metabolic health.
  • Data support a clear inverse relationship between moderate exercise training and illness risk.
  • Exercise training has an anti-inflammatory influence mediated through multiple pathways.
  • Increased carbohydrate and polyphenol intake is an effective nutritional strategy for immune support.
  • Habitual exercise improves immune regulation, delaying the onset of age-related dysfunction.

One cautionary finding was that Illness risk is increased in athletes during periods of intensified training and competition.

Even Harvard Medical School agrees that exercise is beneficial for our immune systems,

“Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

Pursuing Optimum Health Through Exercise

Properly understood, health is far more holistic and inclusive than just physical. It includes our mental and emotional well-being, which are systemically a part of our physical well-being. An article from the Mayo Clinic shares a number of benefits of regular exercise,

Controls weight

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories.

Combats health conditions and diseases

Being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Improves mood

Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious, and can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

Boosts energy

Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.

Promotes better sleep

Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep and deepen your sleep.

In addition, the Mayo Clinic points out that regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including:

  • Stroke
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Many types of cancer
  • Arthritis

Regular exercise also helps improve cognitive function and helps lower the risk of death from all causes.

Exercise, Health and Pain

We understand that exercise promotes and sustains health and boosts the immune system. Given the trend of typical infections from COVID-19 as well as the flu, colds and any number of other infectious diseases, we also know that the stronger the body and the more robust the immune system, the lower the risk of infection and illness.

On the other hand, we also know that simply engaging in exercise or working out regularly increases the risk of injury. On top of that, day-to-day living and inhabiting aging bodies means we are increasingly prone to injuries.

And this means the potential for long-term or chronic pain.

Pain Relief With Pain and Performance Solutions

With chronic pain or injuries, the first step in recovery begins when we get to know you and your pain issues. Once you make your first appointment, we’ll learn about your present discomfort as well as any history of discomfort.

After a full examination we’ll determine which form of treatment is needed to help you on your road to recovery. As our bodies start to compensate for pain, this can allow you to move on with your day. However, your body can also shift that pain around to compensate for your discomfort and this can lead to other forms of pain.

Pain relief can only begin when we can understand where your pain started. That could mean it started a while back with another injury you might have sustained.

Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. Ultimately, getting your body working properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any, and all questions that you may have

You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.