What happens with our immunity when we move our bodies?
It increases! Essentially, exercise increases blood and lymph flow as muscles contract. The immune cell circulation improves, and they roam at a higher rate and numbers.
Apparently, exercise recruits a specialized immune cell, killer cell, and T cell to find pathogens and eradicate them.
Health.com states that consistent movement | 45 minutes per day | lowers the number of upper respiratory tract infections by 40% over a 3 month period. As you continue to exercise the stronger your immune system becomes and the more benefits you will see.
Here are a few changes that occur in the immune system when exercise is consistent:
- flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways
- antibodies + white blood cells change to fight disease more efficiently
- slows the release of stress hormones – lower stress hormones protect against illness
Usually while we’re moving, we’re sweating, and our body is warming up. The increase in body temperature during and after workouts may prevent bacteria from growing which helps your body to fight harder. This is a similar concept to when we have a fever when sick.
Movement can also decrease inflammation in the body. We hear a lot about inflammation and how detrimental it is to us. In this case, when immune cells attempt to function in inflammation it puts the immune system into an inflamed state. Oh no, right?!
So, what sort of activity is best? Aerobic activity looks to be the best; running, cycling, or walking. Enough to break a sweat and raise your heart rate. The flip side to this is that too high of an intensity or too much exercise can have the opposite affect and increases your risk to illness.
One of my favorite sayings holds true once again—everything in moderation. Moving your body has many, many benefits but a strong immune system is at the top for me!