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How Exercise Affects The Immune System

by Lisa Payne - May 21, 2021

Regular exercise keeps us strong, happy and healthy. It also helps boost cognition, better sleep, digestion, increased sex drive and — you guessed it — immune health.** But while we know exercise does make us healthier, you may still be wondering, "How exactly does exercise boost the immune system?"

Check out these positive effects moderate exercise can have on the immune system.

Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.

exercise and immune system

1. Reduces Stress Hormones

Workouts increase the production of endorphins. By doing so, it can lower stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. When stress hormones are lowered, endorphins are stimulated, which in addition to helping boost your mood, can help lower blood pressure, improve sleep and protect immune functioning.**

2. Causes a Humoral and Cellular Immune Response

Regular exercise can promote infection protection caused by intracellular microorganisms through a prevalence of Th1 cells.** Th1 cells defend against intracellular viral and bacterial pathogens, research has found.    

What this means is that regular exercise may reduce risk for the incidence of communicable illnesses (like bacterial and viral infections). Because exercise helps to open up the lungs and airways, and increases circulation and body temperature, it may help ward off infections.**

3. Creates a Higher Range of Gut Micro-Organisms

According to a study that compared the effect of exercise and diet on gut microbiota of athletes, there was a higher range of gut micro-organisms of 22 different phyla. Microbiota biodiversity can help maintain healthy immune function. Gut microbiome are the microbes in your intestine are crucial to your short and long-term health.

With any moderate or vigorous exercise program, maintain a healthy immune system with a nutritious diet, quality sleep, stress management skills and workout recovery efforts. Whether your goals are to lose weight, gain muscle mass or to finish a marathon, balance is the key to staying healthy.

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