One Simple Thing Can Boost Your Immunity
Not only can exercise boost your strength, endurance, and mood, but it can help you fight off diseases like COVID-19.
It really is true: Exercise is medicine. You may have heard that before and brushed it off, but exercise is medicine as much as good nutrition and restful sleep are. Exercise prevents disease, and in many cases, exercise interventions can reverse diseases and get people off of prescription medications.
Now, as we face a persistent pandemic, prioritizing immune health is more critical than ever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges that obesity may increase the risk of severe complications from COVID-19, and several scientific studies support this warning.
In one study, even after adjusting for weight-related comorbidities, researchers found obesity to be a huge risk for death from COVID-19. Another study suggests that excess body fat suppresses the immune system, while yet another questions whether obesity might negatively affect a person’s response to a COVID-19 vaccine when that time comes.
But, how exactly does this all work, and where does exercise come into play? It’s all about how exercise improves your immune health — and that happens in several ways.
Exercise prepares your body to fight
Exercise makes your body stronger inside and out.
Turns out, a physical activity habit may actually improve the function of your immune cells. Exercise also strengthens your organs (particularly the heart and lungs) and increases blood circulation, which may contribute to quicker responses from white blood cells and antibodies that fight off infections.
Exercise reduces your risk of diseases
It is (or should be) common knowledge at this point that exercise is an antidote to disease. Physical activity is a first line of defense against chronic illnesses like heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. When people show early signs of these conditions, doctors often prescribe lifestyle changes, including a regular exercise program.
Exercise keeps your weight down
One of the best things you can do for your health — immune or otherwise — is maintain a healthy weight. Decades of research prove body weight is related to almost every health outcome imaginable, including your risk of complications from infectious diseases like COVID-19.
Exercise reduces inflammation
Finally, scientists have proven regular physical activity can decrease inflammation in your body. Research suggests chronic inflammation plays a major role in the development of chronic diseases, because it can dampen your immune system’s ability to function. In fact, some research even links lower inflammatory markers to people with better fitness.