It’s more important than ever to keep your immune system strong and your body mobile.
But even though exercise is key to staying healthy, you need to know how much and what types of workouts work best.
And that’s what we’re going to answer in this post!
How Exercise Boosts Your Immune System?
It’s no secret that exercise boosts your immune system.
The question is how?
For starters, aerobic exercises like running are known to help increase blood circulation and increase white blood cell circulation which helps your immune system fight off viruses.
Plus, you use energy when you work out and replenish it by eating.
If you’re focusing on the right foods to refuel, you end up taking in more vitamins and nutrients which also help strengthen your immune system.
Nuts and berries are great for the immune system and make for great pre-workout snacks!
Should I Take Antioxidant Supplements During a Workout?
Exercise gives you a short burst of oxidation, which helps your body regulate your blood sugar better.
You should be careful not to use antioxidant supplements when working out because supplements like Vitamin C pills can interrupt this natural process.
Instead, let your body enjoy the temporary spike before enjoying a healthy glass of orange juice.
Proper exercise gives you a boost in natural antioxidants and anti-inflammation benefits.
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Exercise?
The World Health Organization (WHO) says adults need up to 300 minutes of cardio a week.
But some studies suggests this can actually make your immune system weaker!
This study found that mice forced to do intense exercise were more likely to get the flu than mice allowed to rest.
But this doesn’t mean you can justify hours of binge watching your favorite show!
When researchers looked at a third group of mice who did moderate exercise, they found the group’s immune system worked the best!
Here are the overall results:
- 50% of those with no exercise died of the flu
- 70% of those who did intense exercise died of the flu
- 12% of those who did moderate exercise died of the flu
Let’s put “moderate exercise” into perspective.
If you try doing 300 minutes of cardio every week, you’d need to do 45 minutes every day.
Unfortunately, studies show exercising more than five times a week puts you at a higher risk of dying from viruses like the flu.
It’s also shown that more than 90 minutes of intense exercise makes your immune system weaker for three days.
Most experts recommend exercising three times a week.
You might want to err on the side of caution and aim for 150 minutes of cardio total for the three days.
Why Does Too Much Exercise Weaken the Immune System?
When you exercise, you put your body under stress.
In small amounts, this can be a good thing but when you overdo it, you don’t give your body a chance to recover properly.
Your stress hormonea go up and put your immune system on pause.
And remember what we said about exercise giving you a burst of oxidants?
Free radicals and oxidation can be a good thing in the right amounts since they help you turn food into energy and regular exercise will actually help your body properly keep them in balance by enhancing your natural antioxidant defenses.
But Intense exercise routines can be too much, making you produce more of the free radicals responsible for oxidation and leading to damaged cells that should be boosting your immunity.
Again, too much exercise doesn’t leave you with enough time to properly recover from the oxidative stress, so stick to a moderate exercise routine three times a week for no longer than an hour.
How to Stay Active At Home
The COVID-19 pandemic is recommending people stay at home and many gyms are now closed to the public.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good workout in from home.
Here are some exercises to get you started:
- Push-ups really work your upper body. You can start with modified bent knee push-ups if you’re struggling to do a full push-up.
- Bent knee sit-ups, also known as crunches, are one of the best exercises to improve your core strength. Just remember to protect your back by squeezing your core and don’t sit all the way up.
- Forward lunges and side lunges work your legs, butt, and abs. Don’t let your knee glide over your toes on the forward lunges—you should be at 90 degrees with your front leg.
- Standing calf raises are a great way to target your lower legs. Hold weights at your side (soup cans will do) for even more of a challenge.
- Squat jumps strengthen your lower body while spiking your heart rate for added cardio benefits. You can even add a jumping rope but make sure you’ve got proper form first.
Yoga is another light form of exercise worth considering too!
And remember, walking to the nearest shop to buy some essentials is typically allowed even during the strictest lockdowns.
Get Your Workout Gear On!
If you want to boost your immune system, exercise is one of the best ways to do so.
But keep in mind how often and how hard you work out. Most experts recommend three times a week to keep you active without disrupting your body’s natural balance of oxidants.
With COVID-19 making it impossible to visit the gym, it’s more important than ever to incorporate a workout routine from home.
So get your workout gear on and start doing some pushups and jumping jacks!