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Why Exercise Boosts the Immune System

Mar 8, 2010

If you exercise regularly, there's a good chance that you're helping to boost your immune system. In fact, recent studies have suggested that if you complete moderate exercise just a few times every week, you can drastically reduce the number of colds that you get every year. Outside of just keeping you in shape and helping you to become healthier over time, exercise can boost your immune system and help your body fight off harmful diseases and even something as simple as the common cold. Though doctors are continuing to do research on the link between exercise and the immune system, they have discovered some simple truths that impact how exercise can help.

How Exercise Boosts The Immune System

When you exercise regularly, there are a number of things that benefit your body. Your heart gets stronger and is able to pump more blood throughout your body when you exercise. Your lungs get better equipped at handling oxygen and dishing it out to the rest of your body. Your muscles also get stronger as you use them more often. Your immune system is no different. Doctors have found that exercise can boost your immune system by providing a boost to the cells in your body that are assigned to attack bacteria. These cells appear to work more slowly in people who don't exercise than in those that do. As a result, if you exercise, your immune system is better equipped to handle bacteria that could cause you to become sick. Though this boost only lasts for a few hours after you exercise, it's often enough to help keep you healthier than you would be if you didn't exercise.

Exercising Too Much Can Hurt Your Immune System

While it's obviously beneficial to give your immune system a boost by exercising, you also need to be aware of the fact that you could actually hurt your immune system if you don't give your body enough rest. Too much exercise can actually cause your immune system to weaken. It's one of the reasons that you may feel very rundown and weak if you're training for a marathon or doing a lot of exercise during a short window of time. In order to avoid having this effect on your immune system, make sure that you get enough rest for your body.

Improving Your Immune System by Exercising

The truth is that you don't have to be a super athlete to boost your immune system through exercise. All you need to do is walk for a half hour every day or find time to hit the gym a few times every week. By speeding up the cells in your immune system that fight off bacteria, you can get healthier in no time. Studies have also shown that people who work out often take half as many sick days per year as those that don't work out. Try to incorporate more exercise into your day to help strengthen your immune system over time.

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