How You Can Support Your Immune System By Working Out
Judging by the current climate around the globe, many people have started prioritizing their immune systems. However, a person's immunity depends on many factors; we can control some, while some are beyond our control. But exercise has a certain level of contribution to improving our immunity, so it is worth knowing how.
Providing your body with any exercise, let it be cardiovascular or resistance training, has proven to help strengthen our immune system; cardiovascular exercise, like running, swimming or cycling, majorly helps to increase blood circulation and contributes to the production of white blood cells, which performs a very crucial role in fighting infections. In addition, cardiovascular exercise has been shown to elevate antibodies and T cells, which are responsible for identifying and neutralizing harmful antibodies in our body.
However, resistance training consists of activities involving weights and resistance bands to build and strengthen muscles. Resistance training not only contributes in enhancing muscle mass and bone density, but it also impacts our immune system in a major way. Resistance training has also shown the signs of contribution in stimulating the production of cytokines (proteins that promote the growth and activity of the immune system).
So, combining cardiovascular and resistance training can significantly improve the immune system and provide protection against infections and diseases.
A J-shaped curve can represent our body's sensitivity towards diseases. According to the concept of j-shaped curve a person who is not very active or has very little to no physical activity in their day-to-day life has a reasonable possibility of developing the tract infections in upper respiratory of a human body. However, by engaging yourself in day-to-day physical activities can help them at a major way, as physical activities have been found to improve the human beings immune system's ability to protect the body from infections and diseases.
Comparatively, individuals who perform a moderate level of physical activity have been found to have a lower risk of developing the tract infections in upper respiratory of a human body. Brisk walking and cycling can lower the risk of developing upper respiratory infections by as much as 40%.
Regular workout can be detrimental for immune system and may increase the risk of diseases and health issues. As you train hard in the gym you down regulate your immune system, and we recommend to perform a moderate level of physical activity to support your immune system.
In Some Cases, Exercise Might Hurt
The ending of the J-curve described above must have concerned individuals who train at a very "exhaustive" level of physical activity. This is also been established by numerous studies that people or individuals who are involved in low physical training has 50% more chances of catching upper respiratory tract infection. Individuals who train themselves at a very high intensity, especially long-duration cardio runners like those known as marathoners, can harm the immune system. During their taper, these athletes usually experience a mild cold and sore throat, which is often associated with the prolonged and intense workout that they have performed.
Hormesis effect might have a role to play over here. Hormesis theory suggests that physiologically our bodies can adapt to an appropriate dose of stress mid to long-term so that we can be protected from future bouts of anxiety. Pressure at a very minimal rate won't help our body to adapt and progress further in exercise. At the same time, too much stress from training can adversely affect our bodies. In this case, we won't recover properly, get more prone to injuries, suffer from pain regularly, and even witness a critical phase in our performance.
Some evidence also suggests that individual sessions of intense exercise can suppress the immune system. The secretion of lymphocytes (responsible for the production of antibodies) is down–regulated, and protein messengers and other hormones are negatively impacted as well.
However, a lot of new researchs suggest that this may be same as it looks. Instead of getting down regulated, lymphocytes moved to other locations, for example, the lungs, to fight the infections. But, since this research is still under development, any specific recommendations can only be given with partial confidence.
In any case, it is not very likely to concern ourselves with the thought of people exercising too intensely, as that's usually not the case due to their time restrictions, other commitments, etc. That being said, people who push their workout to the limit of the "red zone" are advised to hold back for a few weeks while continuing their workout sessions at a low intensity.
Tips For Working Out While Prioritizing Immunity
Taking it easy would be a smart choice, if you already workout People already engaged in a workout routine should perform their workouts with caution during times of precariousness. While there are various benefits for both body and mind, listening to your body and not pushing too hard in all your workout sessions is essential. Taking precaution becomes necessary when immunity is a matter of concern; during these times, it is best to take caution and make things easier. Consider shifting your focus toward low-intensity steady-state (LISS) workouts. LISS workouts help maintain fitness levels without putting your body through undue stress. Ultimately, the goal should be to find a balance between maintaining good health and staying active while prioritizing immunity.
If you are aggressively training, take the intensity down a notch. Also Read :- Supplements For Workout : Necessary or Optional!
Aggressively burning yourself in almost every workout session impacts your immune system very harshly by producing stress hormones and inflammatory molecules, leaving your body more vulnerable to illness and infection.
Decreasing the intensity of your workouts will not only help your immune system. In general overtraining leads to fatigue. burnout and injury, we would recommend to keep a check on your training volume so that you won't be derailed from your fitness goals.
If you are someone who regularly pushes their workouts to a very high intensity, consider scaling the intensity down and maintaining a consistent workout routine. Whether it means shortening your workouts or performing low-impact exercises, etc.
The best way to fetch the optimal results via training is to limit your training sessions 30-60 minutes a day, making sure you get adequate training volume weekly, daily and get uninterrupted success (surpassing injuries probabilities). But don't push yourself too hard in every workout session. Instead, try maintaining your heart rate at 75% or below your maximum. You can calculate your estimated heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. By doing so, you'll avoid getting sick without putting yourself at risk of overexertion and getting injured, which will jeopardize your fitness goals.