Keeping your immune system fully functioning is one of the most important ways to prevent disease, and studies have shown that one of the best ways to strengthen your flu-fighting abilities is with exercise. Here are a few examples of simple exercises that can help fire-up your immune system and keep you healthy!
Walk it Out
Regular moderate exercise is the leading method for boosting your immune system. Walking about 30 minutes per day increases the amount of leukocytes, cells that fight off infections and colds, in your body. Prolonged high-intensity workouts can increase stress hormones in your body that can depress immune system activity, leaving you more susceptible to disease. Always pace yourself and don’t overdo it, too much too soon can have a negative effect.
Find Your Inner Chi
Yoga and Tai Chi workouts focus on the mind and body, placing emphasis on the use of meditation and deep breathing. Studies have shown that deep breathing creates rapid lymph movement. This is crucial to your body’s lymphatic system, which is made up of glands that filter and destroy contaminants, produce antibodies and create more lymphatic cells. Yoga and Tai Chi have also been shown to reduce stress, which is important for a healthy immune system.
Working some strength training moves into your routine can help you develop a strong and healthy body with the added bonus of a strong immune system. When you build muscle through strength training glutamine (an amino acid that many cells in our immune system thrive on) is produced. Additionally your muscle stores protein, which is made up of amino acids that help the body produce antibodies and white blood cells, ultimately helping you to fight-off sickness. There’s no reason not to add some strength training moves into your workout!
Perform Aerobic Workouts
Aerobic exercises are beneficial for your heart and can help you maintain a health weight. People with a healthy body weight are at a lower risk for diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. A lower level of fat cells in the body reduces the amount of inflammatory chemicals they secrete, decreasing both of the risk of infection and tissue damage. Aerobic exercise also increases your body temperature, which can help kill infections in the body. Check out fun exercises that will get your heart pumping here.
Integrating some of these exercises into your workout routine will leave you leaner, healthier and more resistant to sickness during cold and flu season!