Men's HealthResearch

Can Exercise Strengthen Your Immune System?

From Fitness & Power

Exercise is an effective immune booster, however, if you’ve been exposed to or are currently recovering from the corona virus, you might want to tone it down a bit, according to a recent study.

It goes without saying that the best defense against the invasion of dangerous viruses is a strong immune system. However, in regards to exercise, scientists have spent many years debating whether exercise helps or hinders our body’s ability to keep us healthy.

This controversial debate began in the 80s, when scientists found that certain marathon runners suffered from various illnesses in the following days after the races. The notion that exercising suppresses our immune system has become prevalent ever since, despite the obvious flaws in the original study and subsequent ones showing that marathon runners actually missed fewer training days because of illness compared to less-active athletes.

Evidence proving the contrary has also been mounting ever since. For example, one study noted that mice infected with the influenza virus, than ran for 20-30 minutes a day for three days had a higher chance of survival than their sedentary counterparts.

More recently, scientists have refuted the so-called open-window theory, which claims that intense exercise causes immune cells to enter and flood the bloodstream and then vanish, leaving the body vulnerable to all kinds of pathogens.

Subsequent studies have shown that while there is a decrease in the frequency and function of immune cells in the bloodstream after intense and prolonged training session, this doesn’t cause immune system suppression, on the contrary, it heightens the state of immune system surveillance and regulation which is driven by a preferential mobilization of immune cells to peripheral tissues.

So far, no study has produced enough evidence that would directly co-relate exercise with an increased likelihood of developing any type of viral infection. Generally, if you’ve been exercising regularly all your life, it’s still safe to continue, despite numerous concerns about COVID-19.

In any case, it may not be prudent to be following an intense training regimen if you’re recovering from the corona virus, according to an analysis of studies published in May by the American College of Cardiology.

There’s still controversy floating around as to whether more intense and prolonged exercise could negatively impact the immune system and increases susceptibility to disease. Considering the the corona virus has numerous direct and indirect effects on the heart, there are still questions remaining about the safety of exercise in people exposed to the corona virus or who are recovering from it.

As a conclusion, if you’ve been physically active so far, stay the course; if you’re resuming your training, take it easy. Err on the side of caution and stay healthy.

Besides moderate exercise, here are a few more things you can do to improve your immune system and raise its defenses.

Source: https://www.fitnessandpower.com/fitness-and-health/exercise-immune-system



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