Boosting immunity in times of a health crisis could mean the difference between life and death. And one of the best ways to boost immunity is through exercise. According to a new study from the University of Bath in the UK, keeping up with regular, daily exercise can play an important role in helping to maintain a healthy immune system.
As more and more countries around the world are closing gyms and sports clubs, researchers are trying to let people know that they should not stop exercising. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. In times where our health could be compromised, we must keep exercising to help boost immunity.
The study published in the international journal Exercise Immunology Review sought to find the effects of exercise on immune function. Previous studies have found that regular moderate exercise is beneficial for immunity, but some critics say that more strenuous exercise can actually suppress immune function. They believe this could then lead to an “open window” of heightened infection risk during the hours and days following exercise.
For the study, leading experts Dr. Turner and Dr. Campbell debated whether the immune system could change negatively or positively after exercise. The study concluded that infections in athletes are more likely to be linked to inadequate diet, insufficient sleep, poor hygiene, psychological stress, and pathogen exposure at social gatherings at events such as marathons, rather than the act of exercising itself.
Stay Fit and Healthy
Author Dr. James Turner from the Department for Health at the University of Bath spoke about the study. “Our work has concluded that there is very limited evidence for exercise directly increasing the risk of becoming infected with viruses. In the context of coronavirus and the conditions we find ourselves in today, the most important consideration is reducing your exposure from other people who may be carrying the virus. But people should not overlook the importance of staying fit, active and healthy during this period. Provided it is carried out in isolation, away from others, then regular, daily exercise will help better maintain the way the immune system works, not suppress it.”
Co-author, Dr. John Campbell added: “People should not fear that their immune system will be suppressed by exercise placing them at increased risk of Coronavirus. Provided exercise is carried out according to the latest government guidance on social distancing, regular exercise will have a tremendously positive effect on our health and wellbeing, both today and for the future.”
It is more important than ever before to continue an exercise regime that includes regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as walking, running, or cycling. The aim should be to be active around 150 minutes per week. To give the body the most immune-boosting potential, on top of exercise, be sure to get adequate sleep and maintain a healthy diet.
At this time in particular, researchers believe following this lifestyle could make all the difference in staying healthy because the physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.