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Health 14 October 2017
By: Natasha Tanga

How Exercise Can Help Boost Your Immune System

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Exercise has long been labeled as a must when it comes to promoting a long, healthy life. In fact, research suggests that exercise proves to be helpful when it comes to preventing chronic illness - such as cardiovascular disease and cancer - but can actually protect you from more acute illnesses. To put it in a simpler example, physically active individuals report to catch fewer flu than those who do not exercise regularly.

It works by increasing the number of immunoglobulins or commonly known as antibodies every time you exercise, thus making it more effective at improving immune system function by aiding in the destruction of foreign substances like viruses. 

However, when it comes to boosting immune system function with exercise, more isn't always better. Reports stated that individuals who engage in high-intensity exercise for an extended period of time may actually experience an increase in the release of cortisol and epinephrine in their bloodstream.

Increases in the release of these hormones may significantly reduce the effectiveness of circulating immune cells. As immune cells become less effective, they experience difficulty when it comes to fighting off acute illness. This decrease in immune cell functions may last for several days following the completion of high-intensity exercise bouts.

That is why, exercising at the right intensity level has been proven to be effective when it comes to boosting immune system function. To maximize immune system function, you should choose the right type and intensity of physical activity. Aim for 60 minutes of aerobic exercise at a moderate intensity daily.

We also have compiled a number of pointers to help guide you maintain a healthy immune level alongside your healthy exercising habits:

1. Eat Well. 

It may sound simple, but make sure you consume a nutritious, well-balanced daily diet that includes drinking plenty of water. Never forget daily intakes of fiber from vegetables and fruits, as well as plates of balanced protein, carbohydrates and fat for your breakfast, lunch and dinner. You might also want to take extra vitamin C to help reduce oxidative damage to immune cells. Other herbal supplements that are proven to be beneficial to maintain your immune levels are also highly recommended, such as our Relief Sari line, consisting of Jinten Hitam, Meniran and Kulit Manggis. Just be sure to check with your doctor before using any supplements.

2. De-stress. 

Learn techniques to limit and moderate stress levels. Mental stress has been linked to an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections and added stress puts a strain on every part of your body. Take time out of each day for yourself!

3. Take a Good Rest 

Sleep is crucial for positively maintaining every element of your life. Sleep disruptions have been linked to immune suppression. And if you’re having difficulty sleeping, regular daily activity can help to improve your sleep pattern.

4. Don’t Overdo Things 

Like mentioned above, it is best to apply a balance in your life, including exercise. Avoid crash diets, overtraining and chronic fatigue. Rapid weight loss has been linked to negative immune changes, while both overtraining and chronic fatigue suppresses immunity and makes you more susceptible to contracting a virus.

In conclusion, exercise, like other healthy habits, is an essential component to keeping your immune system in tip-top shape. However, be sure to use discretion and caution anytime you aren’t feeling well. Listen to your body — the last thing you want to do is prolong an illness longer because you over-taxed yourself trying to stay active. It is smarter to rest a few days in order to let your body heal. Be patient, you have the rest of your life to be physically active again!

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