With the pandemic, coronavirus still crippling most of our normal activities including visiting the gym we have to ensure that our bodies are fully protected from the disease.
Ensure that you wash your hands regularly at all times, stick to social distancing and endeavour to eat a balanced diet as this could be an added benefit.
The immune system is a very important part of the body, it helps to protect the body from foreign bodies that could make us sick, however sometimes our immune system is defeated and we fall sick.
How can we help to boost our immune system especially during this period where the global pandemic is still on the rise.
Exercising is not just something we do to lose weight, build muscle or improve the cardiovascular system, exercises are an effective way to boosts the immune system.
There are some forms of exercises that help to boost the immune system as not all forms of exercises are beneficial to your immune system especially during this period of the pandemic. Let’s look at ways that our daily workout benefits the immune system.
Can exercising really boost one’s immune system?
The pandemic (coronavirus) led to a complete lockdown globally that has affected a lot of regular routines and led to the shut down of so many businesses including the gym.
However, the world health organization still recommended regular exercising not just as a way to burn calories or improve mental health but also as a means to improve one’s immune system and in turn reduce the risk of certain sickness and infections.
The cells that make up the immune system are usually found in the spleen and other lymphoid tissues, when there is an introduction of a foreign body the neutrophil (immune cell) migrate to the affected area and engulf the foreign body through a process known as phagocytosis.
These cells play a vital role in protecting the body from getting infected, they destroy bacteria, fungi or viruses that try to cause certain illnesses in the body.
When we engage in exercises, the rate at which blood flows is greatly improved and there is a boost in the circulation system of the body. This increase in circulation also affects the immune system, the cells of the immune system are circulated at a faster rate throughout the entire body.
As the cells are completely dispersed around the body, any intrusion of a foreign matter is immediately wiped off by the immune cells (T cells).
According to health, in a study conducted in 2019 about 45 minutes brisk walk, it was discovered that after the workout session the immune cells moved around the body for an additional three hours. They were on guard, searching for any foreign pathogenic body in order to completely destroy it.
It is advisable to constantly keep the immune cells on guard by engaging them in exercises regularly, if you stop exercising how can you boost the circulatory process? Therefore, the more constant your cardio workout is, the more your circulation is improved and your immune cells embark on their inspection duty.
For instance, if individual A cleans their room once a week and Individual B cleans their room every day, which room will look cleaner? Individual B room will look cleaner than individual A room because individual B is consistent.
From the example above we can deduce that exercise is just like individual B who is constantly on cleaning the room, it help to boost the guarding activity of the immune system.
If you really want an active immune system that is constantly patrolling to search for foreign bodies that are harmful to the health ensure that you engage in constantly aerobic exercises.
Exercises also reduces the occurrence of inflammation (According to the English dictionary, Inflammation is a condition of any part of the body, consisting of congestion of the blood vessels, with obstruction of the blood current, and growth of morbid tissue.
It is manifested outwardly by redness and swelling, attended with heat and pain) in the body which also helps to increase immunity.
When the immune system is subjected to an inflamed state while dealing with inflammation, this makes it very difficult for the immune system to defend the body from the risk of disease-causing foreign bodies. Engaging in exercises helps to minimize the rate at which inflammation occurs hence the body immunity is greatly improved.
How exercises boost the immune system?
The process begins when we engage in exercises, our body tends to increase the circulation process, initiate the fight or flight response and this leads to the production of stress hormones.
These actions that occur triggers the release of immune cells into the blood, tissues and lymph. These immune cells perform surveillance in the body, searching for diseases causing pathogens and then destroys them.
At this stage, the immune system has been boosted in order to ensure that this high level of immunity is maintained, it is important that you engage in regular exercise.
What kind of exercise can help to boost one’s immune system?
A lot of research and studies have been carried out on this topic and the common factor in these studies and research points to aerobic or cardio exercises.
Aerobic exercises helps to increase the rate of blood flow as well as circulation, if you want to stimulate the surveillance process of the immune cells you should be willing to engage in aerobic exercises like brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling and many other aerobic exercises.
There is a little controversy as to the ability of high-intensity interval exercises to improve one’s immunity as the studies in relation to this topic is relatively low.
Some studies and research supports this claim stating that HIIT exercises can improve one’s immunity. As long as the body is not subjected to a severe bout of intense HIIT then you can add a little HIIT to your workout routine.
There are also limited availability of research or studies on the role of strength training in elevating one’s immunity. However, according to health strength training exercises can help to improve one’s immune system as long as you avoid damaging the muscles.
When there is damage to a muscle the immune cells migrate to the affected area to initiate the healing process and this would greatly affect the boosting of the immune system.
Don’t try super weight lifting for this period, the body needs the full alertness of the immune system, a muscle tear can only cause a significant distraction.
Are there some kind of exercises that can harm the immune system?
When something is excessively done, it can lead to results that might not be beneficial. This also applies to exercising, as much as exercising is really a great routine that should be added to our lifestyle if it is not properly controlled it can have damaging effects.
Engaging in HIIT exercises for more than 90 minutes can cause certain injuries in the body that will require the presence of the immune cells hence preventing the cells from engaging in the surveillance process.
It could also put the body under stress and when the body is stressed the immune cells fail to function effectively for few hours.
During this period when the cells are not functioning properly, the body is susceptible to infections and diseases.
While exercising is good, overly engaging in exercises can lead to a lot of immune system-related problems that can negatively impact the overall health of the body.
Other ways to boosts the immune system include;
1.Get proper hours of sleep
There is a close relationship between sleep and the immune system, have you noticed that when you are ill you tend to sleep a lot? This is your body’s way of allowing the immune system to defend the body from the foreign body that has attacked.
When you barely sleep or you have improper hours of sleep, you are likely to become easily ill and this is not something you should want especially during this pandemic period.
Adequate rest helps to boosts immunity, as an adult ensure that you sleep for at least 8 hours at night. If you suffer from insomnia it is important that you watch your diet, turn off your phone light a few hours before bedtime.
Improve your diet
Whole plant food and healthy fat are a great choice of food that helps to protect the body from the risks of chronic inflammation which might lead to heart-related problems.
The compounds contained in these foods help to boosts immunity and prevent the entry of foreign pathogenic bodies.
Eat food that increases the production of gut bacteria (probiotics), when probiotics are well-nourished it can help to improve the distinguishing ability of the immune cell (I.e it helps them to identify what cells are harmful or not).
When the body is dehydrated, it can increase the body’s susceptibility to illness and infections. It is advised to stay hydrated and drink a lot of water; tea is also a good choice.
Avoid extreme intake of fruit juice, soda and all drinks that contain added sugar.
Manage stress level
Stress does more bad than good to the general body’s health both physically and mentally. A high level of stress for a long period of time can subject the body to inflammation which would affect the immunity of the body.
Engage in activities that can help alleviate stress, add exercises to your daily routine, meditate, engage in yoga or search for a registered professional therapist.
Keeping your immune system at its peak is very important during this period, we do not want to be susceptible to Coronavirus.
Ensure that you engage in the activities that improve your immunity and completely neglect those that minimize the functionality of the immune system.
Did you know that exercise also supports the immune system? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.