Exercise makes you feel healthier and more energetic and by extension, it can help you feel better about yourself. So go ahead, take that barre class or go for that walk with a friend. You will feel better and healthier for it!
Did you know the average adult has two or three respiratory infections (aka the common cold) each year? But if you’re active, you might be able to reduce your chance of infections, as there is a direct correlation between exercise and the immune system. In fact, daily exercise helps improve your immune system and can keep you healthy!
Exercise is an essential component to keeping your immune system in tip-top shape. Studies suggest that physically active individuals report fewer colds than those who do not exercise regularly. In addition to engaging in a regular fitness program, remember there are a few more pieces to the puzzle when it comes to staying healthy:
Eat Well. It may sound simple, but make sure you consume a nutritious, well-balanced daily diet that includes drinking plenty of water.
Take your vitamins! Vitamins That Are Best for Boosting Your Immunity. Individuals might also want to take extra vitamin C to help reduce oxidative damage to immune cells. Just be sure to check with your doctor or a registered dietician before using any supplements.
- Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters of all. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. …
- Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system.
- Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection
De-stress. Learn techniques to limit and moderate stress levels. Mental stress has been linked to an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections and added stress puts a strain on every part of your body. Take time out of each day for yourself!
Rest Up. Sleep is crucial for positively maintaining every element of your life. Sleep disruptions (getting three hours less than normal) have been linked to immune suppression. And if you’re having difficulty sleeping, regular daily activity can help to improve your sleep pattern.
Don’t Overdo It. Avoid crash diets, overtraining and chronic fatigue. Rapid weight loss has been linked to negative immune changes, while both overtraining and chronic fatigue suppresses immunity and makes you more susceptible to contracting a virus.
Avoid Spreading Germs. Try not to touch your eyes and nose with your hands. Your eyes and your nose are the primary route of introducing viruses into the body. If you have to touch your face, make sure you wash your hands first! However, if you’re fighting off the cold or flu then physical activity might hinder you from getting better. Be sure to use discretion and caution anytime you are not feeling well (so stay home and snuggle up in your jammies with a good book instead). Listen to your body — the last thing you want to do is prolong an illness longer because you over-taxed yourself trying to stay active. It is smarter to rest a few days in order to let your body heal. Be patient, you have the rest of your life to be physically active again!
The science: Exercise is an immune system support that improves the body’s defense activity and metabolic health. The immune system is very responsive to exercise
The most exciting finding in the field of exercise immunology is that positive immune changes take place during moderate exercise! People who exercise at a moderate level experience fewer days of sickness from the common cold, flu and other Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI). And, People following regularly scheduled exercise regimens have enhanced immune reactions to infection!
Multiple studies show that Moderate aerobic activity of 30minutes, almost every day seems to gain the most positive benefits of exercise in research.
They recommend exercising 3-5 days/week, a 55%-65% of maximal heart rate, for 20-60 minutes using any activity that uses large muscle groups such as walking, hiking, running, jogging, cycling, group fitness classes (ei: Yoga, Barre, Fusion and Dance fitness classes). A brisk workout at about 70% of maximal heart rate, for 40 minutes per day will enhance your immune system to where you have HALF the chance of contracting URTI’s as non-exercisers.
One study found that women who walked briskly for 35-45 minutes, 5 days a week, for 15 weeks, experienced HALF the incidence of colds as the sedentary control group. A Yoga Journal survey showed that 61% of recreational yogi’s reported fewer colds since taking up the practice.
As of right now, you have less than a 2% chance of getting the Covid-19 virus if you are outside of China and substantially less if you are in Canada. So, do yourself a favor and take a deep breath, wash your hands and live your best life!
Sources: Ken Allen Everyday Health, Us National Library of Medicine, New York times “well”, Well being journal, Health Harvard education.