Prolonged intense exercise has been shown to lower your immune response – however, moderate exercise actually boosts that response. Studies show that even one session of moderate exercise can increase vaccine effectiveness in those with compromised immune systems.
“Working out is a powerful way to boost your immune system,” says Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, Jenkins/Pokempner director of preventative and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center.
Exercise circulates your antibodies and white blood cells more rapidly, which helps them detect germs more quickly. “Being active this way also lowers stress hormones, which reduces your chances of getting sick,” Moyad adds.
According to a recent study of over 1,000 people, those who exercised at least five days a week had almost half the risk of coming down with the common cold than the more sedentary folks.
Regular moderate exercise can reduce inflammation, too, and that is known to improve your immune system. Exercise can also help your immune cells to regenerate regularly.
Examples of moderate exercise include 30 to 60 minutes of brisk walking, jogging, swimming, steady bicycling, and light hiking three to five times a week.
Notice that most of these are associated with the outdoors. There’s a good reason for taking your exercise outside.
Sunlight can stimulate your T-cells; special parts of your immune system that help fight off infection. And being outside brings you into contact with phytoncides and other plant products that can boost your immune function. It also boosts Vitamin D levels in your body, which help your immune system further.
You should also be doing strength-training exercises twice a week to stay at your healthiest. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends two and one-half hours of moderate-intensity exercise every week as well as one hour and fifteen minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise.
So, you should exercise regularly and get enough sunlight to boost your immune system and increase your overall health.