It’s possible that now, more than ever, people all over the world have a vested interest in their immune systems and how to strengthen them. And instead of thinking of them as standalone systems, they’re actually complex networks of various bodily functions working together to keep us healthy.
Vitamin C and ginger shots alone aren’t enough to make our immune systems stronger. We need to make a concerted effort to address all facets of health for our bodies to be fighting fit.
One important aspect of this is how much and how often we move our bodies. There’s long been a misconception that we need to endure lengthy sessions of high-intensity workouts to be adequately healthy. But we’re here to let you know that it’s about playing the long game – moderate and consistent effort is what makes a noticeable difference.
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How does moderate exercise help your immune system?
Prolonged intense exercise is known to be one of the causes of a suppressed immune system; while moderate exercise gives it a boost. Studies indicate that even a single session of moderate exercise can boost the effectiveness of vaccines. This is vital information for people with compromised immune systems.
What’s more, frequent, moderate exercise may reduce inflammation and help your immune cells regenerate regularly.
Great examples of moderate exercise include:
- Brisk walking (done around your house and in the garden during lockdown)
- Steady bicycling (perhaps you have a stationary bike at home?)
- Light hiking
In order to give your immune system a boost, you should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week.
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Aside from being an ideal immune-system booster, regular, moderate exercise also has a host of other benefits.
3 other benefits of regular moderate exercise
1. Boosting your mood
We are all in the extremely fortunate position of being able to fulfil the lockdown regulations from our homes, but there’s no hiding the fact that it can be hard to stay indoors all day. Exercise is a great form of release and can help to get our minds off the things that are bothering us.
Committing to doing moderate exercise at regular intervals produces changes in the parts of the brain that modulate stress and anxiety. Studies show it can also increase brain sensitivity to the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression.
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2. Improving bodily functions
Exercise causes changes in the nature of antibodies and white blood cells. Moderate exercise helps these antibodies and white blood cells circulate more rapidly so they can detect illnesses earlier than they might have without exercise. However, it is not yet known whether these changes help prevent infections.
3. Improving sleep quality
There’s nothing like a good night’s rest, and the feeling of waking up rested and refreshed is unparalleled. Moderate exercise can help achieve this. The quality of sleep is improved as the energy depletion that occurs during exercise encourages restorative processes during sleep. In addition to this, when your body temperature increases during exercise, the drop in temperature afterwards is believed to improve sleep quality.
By Features Writer Andrea Cresswell