Does exercise help boost your immune system?

The immune system is a complex network made up of many different cells, tissues and organs in the body. Its purpose is to help the body fight and defend itself from disease-causing germs such as bacteria and viruses. It is essential in recognizing and neutralizing harmful substances that have entered the body from the environment. If the immune system is weak, the body will struggle to fight off the germs, therefore making recovery from the illness that the germs caused much more difficult. So, what can we do to help boost our immune system? 

While this is an ongoing area of research, studies have shown that 30-60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise daily is highly beneficial in boosting the immune system. This type of exercise will help stimulate the ongoing exchange of distinct and highly active immune cell subtypes (such as immunoglobulins, cytokines, neutrophils, cytotoxic T cells, immature B cells) between the circulation and tissues of the body. It also improves the antipathogen activity whilst simultaneously enhancing recirculation of these important cell subtypes. All of this creates a summation effect to help enhance immune defence activity and metabolic health.

Moderate aerobic exercise can range from brisk walking, golf, dancing, bike riding, recreational swimming, Pilates and yoga. It is recommended and encouraged that at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity should be completed daily. By doing so, your immune system and overall fitness will begin to reap in the benefits.

Lachlan Knuth – Physiotherapist (Honours)

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