In recent months, we have all been working on how to strengthen the body’s ability to defend itself effectively against various infections and diseases. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill that would make our immunity an invincible defense system against viruses, bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms. An excellent recipe for a strong immune system includes a diet rich with vitamins and other nutrients important for the immune system, quality rest and – regular physical activity. Research has shown that people who exercise regularly get sick less often. People which exercise for at least 20 minutes a week for five or more days had a 43% reduction in susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections compared with those who were not physically active.
How does exercising boost immunity?
60 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise three times a week boosts our immunity in the following ways:
- Increases the activation and secretion of immunoglobulins and cytotoxines, the most important cells in the body’s defense against infections.
- It accelerates blood and lymph circulation by muscle contraction. In this way, cells that attack microorganisms and defend us from infections such as neutrophils and lymphocytes reach an unwanted guest in our body faster. These cells were found to be significantly slower by those people who were physically inactive.
- It raises the body temperature and thus helps the antibodies to fight against possible infection.
- It reduces inflammatory processes in the body and thus enables better functioning of the immune system.
- It deepens respiration, so the chances of expelling microorganisms from the airways are greater;
- It increases the capacity of the lungs, which also protect against colds and flu.
- It reduces stress levels, which is a major enemy of our immune system.
- It reduces the risk of other diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, liver disease … and increases the chances of our immune system to successfully fight all microorganisms.
How much should we exercise for a stronger immune system?
At least 30 minutes of physical activity a day is recommended. It is optimal to practice 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity or 75 to 150 minutes of intense training per week. Walking, dancing, cycling, recreational swimming, pilates and yoga are among the moderate physical activities. Intensive workouts include running, fast cycling, weightlifting, and other HIIT workouts. It is important to note that intense training should not be longer than 90 minutes to prevent excessive exhaustion of the body – as in this case, exercise can weaken your immune system.
Is regular exercise enough to keep us healthy?
It is perfectly clear and proven that regular physical activity will contribute to better health and stronger immunity. You also need to pay attention to regular rest and quality sleep. During sleep, the whole body relaxes, the heart rate slows down and the central nervous system is restored. An indispensable component of strengthening the immune system is a proper and balanced diet. It is important to eat foods that will bring vitamins and minerals in the body to optimal levels. This means that the menu must be rich in fruits and vegetables, cereals …