There is often hefty debate over whether it is a good idea to exercise whilst ill. Many avoid exercise when run down, in the belief that it will only wear their immune system down further. However, you can prep your body by doing exercises that are designed to boost your immune system.
Working out to stay healthy and fend off cold and flu viruses allows you to strengthen your body and build up your defences. Over-exercising can have the opposite effect though, so if you are particularly susceptible to viruses then it is important to get the balance just right.
Sweat it out
Exercise helps to activate your lymphatic system, which is ideal for promoting the draining of chemicals and other toxins your body absorbs. Your skin is the largest detoxifying organ in your body. Every time you sweat you are helping to purify your system, by encouraging the removal of toxins via your pores. Muscle contractions also get your lymphatic system pumping, which helps to promote the movement of lymphatic fluid – which carries toxins around your body (the best way to get rid of them).
Choose short bursts
Studies have shown that long ‘endurance’ based exercise is more likely to cause a temporary weakening of the immune system than shorter bursts of intense exercise. Short lasting high intensity or moderate intensity exercise is best for keeping your immune system at its peak (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25380472/). Setting aside 20 minutes or half an hour each day to pop in some intense exercise is perfect for your immunity, and your time scheduling!
How does that work?
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for breathing, blood pressure and heart rate. Exercise activates the pathway and increases these rates, in turn releasing hormones into your bloodstream. These hormones suppress your TNF which, although it does have some positive impacts, increases your inflammation rate and can lead to certain autoimmune diseases.
Exercise is also proven to reduce anxiety and stress, both of which have a powerful impact on your immune system, and to control other diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes, as well as decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Dehydration is one of the reasons exercise may have a detrimental effect on your health. Instead, ensure you are drinking plenty of water to help flush your system and keep your body fresh and hydrated.
Moderate exercise doesn’t have to be difficult, or even require a gym membership. It can be as straightforward as going for a bike ride with your family or walking the dog a little longer than normal. For those seeking a more intense burst of exercise, there are multiple HIIT(high-intensity interval training) training exercises available online which last around 20 minutes.