Find Your Balance – Exercise and the Immune System

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Physical activity influences the way our bodies respond to

viral attacks

We all suffer from a common cold now and then. Recent studies show that physical activity influences the way our bodies respond to these viral attacks. This response or lack of response is due to our body’s immune system. There is a balance between a sedentary, moderate, and over-training physical lifestyle. In this blog, you’ll learn the right amount of exercise essential to beefing up and supporting your immune system. 

Our immune systems work daily to protect us from harmful pathogenic microbes like bacteria, viruses, and foreign objects trying to invade our bodies. Our defense system is influenced by genetic and external factors such as poor nutrition, stressors, aging, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise. When one or more of these are out of whack, it suppresses the immune system and makes us more vulnerable to infection. 

Balancing exercise for a properly functioning immune system

People are regularly exposed to germs causing illness. The number of infections you have per year depends heavily on your immune system and how susceptible you are to disease. The most common infections a person can receive due to lack of a compromised immune system is known as a URTi or Upper respiratory tract infection. 

A virus causes most URTIs. Young children tend to experience several URTIs per year, while the average adult experiences two to four. Balancing how much and how little excise you receive influences a person’s vulnerability to infection. 

Regular exercise comes in handy when contributing to your first line of defense; the immune system. Our bodies are designed to move and movement is a powerful thing. In 2019, The Journal of Sport and Health Science said that exercise could lower illness risk, immune response, and reduce inflammation. However, not all training is helpful to your immune system. 

Levels of exercise and how they affect the immune system

Moderate levels of exercise during the week should be your primary goal. Most people do make an effort at a healthy lifestyle. However, we think it should be your main priority to help your body fight off against nasty viruses and bacteria that cause uncomfortable body responses like cough, runny nose, and fever.

Our immune systems need to stay in balance, not attacking itself or overreacting; A consistent exercise routine of 30 to 60 minutes a day 3- 6 days a week can provide that balance. Let’s talk about what is sedentary exercise, moderate exercise, and overtraining; what does that look like and how does this affect the body. 

Sedentary or Inactive Lifestyle

This type of Individual spends a great deal of time sitting or lying down, with little or no physical exercise. A persons’ job may require sitting at a desk 7-9 hours a day, you then come home to relax on the couch then off to bed. Your only activity that may resemble exercise during the day, was walking to the bathroom or mailbox. Studies show a high health risk to individuals who live this lifestyle.  Inactivity, poor health and a decline in the overall ability to function in daily activities, go hand in hand.

  • Increase in caloric intake while burning fewer calories = Obesity
  • Poor blood circulation, increased inflammation = High blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • A decrease in muscle and bone density = Metabolic syndromes, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancers
  • An increase in chronic disease = an immune system that cannot function properly and leads to increased time in hospitals and Dr. offices.

Over-training – vs – Hyperactive lifestyle

Individuals who spend an abundant amount of time doing physical exercise or activities can be over-training. Training for a competition requires a mix of strategies working up to the competition date. Athletes ad rest days and also mix up their training schedules to accomplish the best blend of cardiovascular and strength training needed for their competition date. Traits of running an over-training lifestyle run high risks. Recognizing the early signs of overactivity and changing up your routine is vital to avoiding more extensive health problems in the future.

Hyperactivity is often a sign of an underlying issue. This may be a person who is very creative and gets bored easily, and movement helps to address the overabundance of energy. Hyperactivity in itself is not a negative trait, the key is finding the correct way or best way to channel the excess energy into a positive use of time, brain activity, and physical activity.

Finding a balance in your daily exercise routine is important. One person’s idea of over-training will be different from another persons idea of hyperactivity. People who exercise regularly should have a balanced goal of physical and mental muscle work in their routine. Personal trainers are available to help find this balance. Mixing up routines is a good way to not overtrain and not become bored with your weekly routine. After all, exercise is for your overall health. Find the best balance for you and your individual goals and needs.

Modest Exercise lifestyle

In very simple terms means participating in enough physical activity to burn off 3-6 more times the energy per minute as you would while being in a quiet position. Exercise includes walking 30 minutes daily, going to the gym every other day, or playing with the kiddos several times a week in the backyard. 

People who adopt and follow a moderate lifestyle can expect to benefit by:

  • Decreasing and managing a healthy weight = decreasing chronic health conditions
  • Increasing natural “feel-good hormones” dopamine = less depression and an improved sense of well being
  • Fatiguing the physical body thru exercise = improved sleep and overall improved mental capabilities
  • Regular exercise = overall improvement in daily activities of life.

Exercise will leave you feeling happy and energetic. Finding the balance between a sedentary lifestyle and an over-training lifestyle is vital to maintain a healthy life and boost your immune system. So, go ahead and get outside and enjoy the rest of the summer, confident in your new immune system-knowledge.