Does exercise help to boost your immunity?
The short answer is Yes. Every single workout from Yoga to running can improve our ability to fight off illness, although you don’t need to go overboard to help your immune system responses. Moderate exercise can lower the risk of a whole host of disease and viral infections.
New research from the UK has shown that a few hours after exercise, white blood cells increase significantly, therefore reinforcing immunity. Exercise reduces the risk of catching a virus or other infection. We should all remain active, being able to fight off pathogenic invaders is vital at this time. After exercise the immune system is reinforced by white blood cells and we are able to remain healthy for longer. The immune cells find it easier to cluster around foreign viruses in the body than more inactive people. Fighting viruses depends on your immune system – how well your immune system is defending you.
For adults, the older you are the less well the immune system works: the interplay between a person’s genetic make-up and environmental factors can determine how well you fight off infection. How much you exercise and what you eat also come into play. The immune system of the body is very complex. The spleen, lymph nodes and immune cells (white blood cells) are activated to help the body fend off infection. Yoga can build resistance to helping the body’s organs to do a better job as the Cortisol in the body decreases.
The immune system is activated at birth and goes through different stages during childhood with the immune system steadily becoming stronger into adulthood. However, in older age the adult immune system becomes lazy and not so battle ready, which explains why viruses etc. are often more severe the older we become.
Yoga and meditation can help anybody, irrespective of their level of health. They have been medically proven to decrease blood pressure and heart rate and aid restful sleep. When combined with a good healthy diet rich in Vitamin C and Zinc, this can improve the body’s natural defences. Yoga and meditation also give you the freedom from an overloaded mind and body, helping to relieve stress, which also aids the body’s immune system. Keeping the stress hormone, Cortisol under control helps the body to eliminate toxins, allowing for better movement and drainage of the lymph system and eliminate toxins from the body that can undermine your immunity.
This is especially important during these difficult times when there are less and less options for exercise and children are home from school during the day. Children can also benefit from yoga practice at this time, not only giving health benefits but keeping them busy and helping focus whilst being at home. Giving ourselves some space and time on the mat can relieve us of anxiety and can give us the ability to handle our current situation with a more relaxed and positive attitude and find our calm energy and focus.
Please visit Melanie Gordon’s new website at : Tocasoholistics.com for more information on Yoga, meditation, counselling, pilates and reiki.