There’s more to exercise than keeping us strong and fit. Recent studies have shown that it can also boost your immunity. Regular physical activity could be one of the keys to reducing the number of Americans who get sick every year with disease-causing germs, like bacteria, parasites, and viruses. And with public health now a top concern here in the U.S. and across the world, building immunity naturally has never been so important.
How Exercise Boosts Your Immune System
Studies show that exercise can help boost the production of white blood cells. They perform various functions to protect your body from infections and harmful substances. One of our articles highlights that yoga is one of the best physical activities that can decrease the production of stress hormones. This is significant since stress hormones can reduce the functionality of T-cells, which are white blood cells that identify and destroy infected cells.
Furthermore, a study on the effects of exercise on the immune system shows that physical activities help in boosting the production of other white blood cells, such as neutrophils and leukocytes. Together they act as patrols for pathogens, which detect and remove harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Researchers also found that natural-killer cells, which help prevent tumors and microbial infections, can be yielded through physical activity. This is another example of how exercise is vital in building immunity
Finally, another research on the connection between physical activities and the body’s defense system explains that exercise counters elements that may lead to disease build-up. The study states that exercise stimulates anti-inflammatory and antioxidant responses. These are crucial in the fight against chronic diseases, like diabetes and cancer. Yes, this study clearly states that exercise can help in building immunity that fights disease!
Lack of Exercise as a Public Health Concern
While the benefits of exercise are clear, there are still many who neglect to include this as a disease prevention technique. Around 74% of the adult population in the US are overweight and 40% have a chronic condition. Meanwhile, only 22.9% get the recommended amount of exercise. It doesn’t take much to put the two together: our lack of exercise, along with other lifestyle and genetic factors, are making us sick.
This is a public health matter. The healthcare system needs to step up to promote exercise as a way to fight off sickness. Medical professionals have an opportunity to educate patients during hospital visits. Specialist nurses, in particular. They could be instrumental in promoting physical activity with people who require frequent clinical care.
One of the specializations taught in an RN to BSN degree is public health nursing, which trains nurses to create programs that address the common health problems in communities – such as lack of exercise. Public health nurses can educate the public on the connection between exercise and immunity. Furthermore, their knowledge and skills in patient interaction emphasize their importance in encouraging and guiding individuals towards healthier lifestyle habits.
That said, you can’t rely on the healthcare system to teach you how to exercise. There are already many resources available, from online videos on how to exercise to personal trainers that can help you build a realistic routine.
Tips for Getting Started
To get fit and build a stronger immune system, start with simple lifestyle changes including exercise into your daily routine. Experts recommend that adults do low-intensity exercises for at least 150 minutes per week. That’s five days of 30-minute workouts or around three days of hour-long workouts! Short on time? You can also opt for 75 minutes of high-intensity exercises.
Beginners and older adults can start with low-intensity exercises, such as walking, yoga, biking, or tai chi. These are also suited for people who have joint pain or are recovering from injuries. But if you want to amp up your training, try moderate to high-intensity workouts. Running, jump-rope, martial arts, and resistance training are just a few ideas you can explore.
Whichever you choose, remember that your health and your immunity will improve as long as you get moving!
This article was specially written for livinghealthylist.com by Jinnie Bora
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