Let’s take a moment and talk about something that’s not discussed enough — exercise. Just kidding. Exercise is a popular universal topic — we all know it does your body good. It’s no secret that exercise should be part of your routine if you want to improve your overall health and wellness.
But the benefits of exercise extend far beyond affecting your physical exterior. Exercising regularly positively affects your mental health. It can help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety and is great for reducing stress. But did you know that it can boost your immune system as well?
No one likes getting sick. Find out how you can utilize exercise to strengthen your immune system and minimize your risk of illness and disease. If you love fitness and discovering new ways to improve your health, read on!
How Does Exercise Boost Your Immune System?
Because exercise plays a vital role in your overall health, it makes perfect sense that it also supports your immune system. Your body is better equipped to fight off viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens when your immune system is healthy. Here are five ways exercise helps to improve your immune system:
1. Improves the Blood Flow
By improving blood flow, exercise helps to increase the circulation of immune cells. How do you benefit from this? Stimulated cellular immunity helps your body prepare better for future infection by detecting it sooner.
Just 30–45 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise can help circulate your body’s strongest defensive immune cells. This not only helps your body handle infections better but also increases your resistance to them in the first place.
2. Decreases Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to toxins and pathogens. Acute inflammation typically isn’t problematic, but it can turn into a chronic issue if it goes unchecked. This is how inflammatory diseases develop within your body.
You can control inflammation by regulating your immune system when you exercise regularly. You’ll want to focus on moderate-intensity exercise to reduce inflammation. High-intensity workouts are beneficial, too, as long as you don’t overdo it. Exercising at a high intensity for an extended period of time actually increases the likelihood of inflammation.
3. Raises Body Temperature
In general, your body temperature rises during exercise and stays elevated for a short period post-workout. Increasing body temperature is widely believed to help prevent bacteria from growing and help your body handle infectious agents. Think of exercise elevating your body temperature, working similarly to how a fever operates.
4. Improves Your Sleep
Exercise helps improve your overall sleep — both quantity and quality. Getting adequate rest affects the health of your immune system. When you fail to get enough sleep each night regularly, your body’s immune system weakens. This makes you more prone to infection and can put you at higher risk for developing cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.
5. Decreases Risk of Heart Disease
I’m sure you already know that exercise is good for your heart — particularly cardio or other high-intensity workouts. A lot of the ways in which exercise boosts your immune system work together. For instance, the first thing we mentioned was improved blood flow. And, efficient blood flow, in turn, helps improve your heart health.
Exercise plays a key role in maintaining your overall heart health — from elevating your heart rate during your workout to lowering your resting heart rate when still or asleep.
Keeping your heart healthy includes decreasing cardiovascular risk factors. Your chance of developing heart disease is lower thanks to our good old pal, exercise.
What’s the Best Exercise for Boosting Your Immune System?
Yes, exercise is a great way to boost your immune system — but the intensity, duration, and frequency of your workouts matter. If your goal is to improve your immune system, then exercising at a moderate to vigorous intensity is best1.
There isn’t a single type of exercise that can be deemed the best for boosting your immune system. But we can give you a few options that are certainly better than others.
Any form of cardio or HIIT workout is a great option if you’re looking to improve your immune system with exercise. Think of any physical activity that will get that heart rate way up. Try high-intensity workouts like running, cycling, spin classes, and Lagree, for instance.
Combining consistent aerobic exercise with at least a couple of days of strength training each week is a great recipe for boosting your immune system. Find the right balance that works best for you.
Can Too Much Exercise Hurt Your Immune System?
While regular exercise benefits your health, remember that too much of a good thing does exist. When it comes to exercise, it’s important to strive for balance.
Based on the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the average adult should get between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75-150 minutes of high-intensity activity each week2. If you’re way outside these general guidelines, your fitness habits may be too strenuous and could be doing you more harm than good.
If you train competitively or work out at a high intensity regularly, make sure you have rest days. Pushing yourself too hard with prolonged intense workouts can actually suppress your immune system.
Should You Exercise If You Have a Cold or Flu?
When you’re sick, what’s the first thing you’re told to do for a speedy recovery? REST. So if you’re wondering if you should exercise if you’re sick, well, this should be a no-brainer. If you’re suffering from a cold or the flu, working out is usually not the best idea.
Just like you shouldn’t continue to push yourself to work out with an injury because it’ll delay your road to recovery, the same goes for sickness. If you feel under the weather, continuing to work out may prolong your recovery. It will interfere with the healing process, and exercise could also exacerbate your symptoms — making you feel worse.
Plus, if you take a class, such as Lagree, for instance, you put others at risk of getting sick if you’re contagious. That said, you don’t always have to forego all exercise when sick. For example, if it’s a mild cold and your symptoms are coughing and sneezing, you may be okay to do some less intense exercise — as long as you’re not spreading those germs to others.
At the end of the day, whether or not you should exercise while sick will vary from case to case. You must evaluate your symptoms and listen to your body and how you feel. Taking a break from your regular workout program may be best — especially if your symptoms are severe.
How Lagree Can Help You Boost Your Immune System
Now that we’ve explored how exercise improves your immune system, let’s focus on Lagree for a moment. The Lagree method helps increase both your muscular and cardiovascular strength and endurance. The time-under-tension technique creates those intense Lagree shakes that elevate your heart rate. You know what this means — an increase in blood flow and a decrease in risk of heart disease.
Even though it’s a low-impact workout, Lagree is still a great sweat sesh. And a sweaty body is a clear sign of increased body temperature. This helps boost your immune system’s ability to fight off bacteria and viruses. Its low-impact, high-intensity nature helps keep your body’s inflammation levels in check.
Your balance, flexibility, and mind-body connection also improve with consistent Lagree workouts. This can help lower your stress and anxiety levels, which usually leads to better sleep.
Because Lagree helps improve blood flow, it also helps increase specialized immune cell circulation. This means more defensive immune cells move throughout your body faster. Exercising recruits your natural killer cells and T cells to help eliminate pathogens3. Lagree does its best to prevent sickness and keep you healthy.
Regulate Your Immune System with Regular Exercise
It’s always a good time to do something to improve your overall health and wellness. Why not choose an exercise that benefits your body from the inside out? There is a strong connection between exercise and the immune system that can’t be denied.
With Covid going on three years strong now, it’s wise to do everything possible to strengthen your immune system. You may be more inclined to curl up on the couch with a blanket come winter, but try not to slack off on your workouts. Regular exercise boosts your immune system when combined with other healthy habits — which is especially important during cold and flu season. Take your vitamins, get adequate rest, and eat nutrient-rich foods. And remember — it’s all about balance.
Lagree is the ultimate workout for becoming the strongest and healthiest — the very best — version of you. Sign up for your first Lagree Fit 415 class and boost your immune system now!
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services