1. Helps Slow the Effects of Aging on the Immune System
The effects of exercise on the immune system yield important results as the body ages. Some studies demonstrate that exercise efficiently reduces the effect of aging on the immune system.
The process of aging has a lot of effects on the human body. One of those effects — a decreased function or dysregulation of the immune system — called immunosenescence — refers to the aging-related decline in the immune system. Although a natural process, it can be counteracted or delayed by reshaping our lifestyle. Collagen supplements can help protect your joints and enhance the quality of your skin as you work to build immune strength through exercise.
Data from recent research supports that regular exercise can help to regulate the immune system and delay the onset of immunosenescence. Another effect of aging — the progressive increase in a pro-inflammatory status (also called “inflamm-aging”) — can lead to disease.
A study published in Ageing Research Reviews found that regular exercise has a beneficial impact on the immune system’s effector cells, such as the T-cells, neutrophils, and Natural Killer (NK) cells. It showed an increased capacity of proliferation and activity of those cells as well as a reduced number of older, less active T-cells. Black seed, also known as black cumin seed, has been shown to be an effective NK supplement and can work in conjunction with habitual exercise to regulate the immune system and delay the onset of immunosenescence.
2. Supports Blood Circulation and Enhanced Immunosurveillance
Moderate amounts of aerobic activity support heart health and encourage healthy blood circulation. This boost in circulation mobilizes important cells of the immune system such as T-cells, cytokines, neutrophils, and others.
The increased mobilization of these cells enhances immunosurveillance. An enhanced immunosurveillance means the body is more alert and ready to fight against infections. In other words, exercise facilitates an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory state.
This immunostimulatory effect of acute exercise yields may benefits — among them, a boost in the blood of lymphocytes, T-cells, and natural killer cells. These effector cells move from the blood to tissues looking for cells infected with viruses or bacteria or those that have transformed.
Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and, therefore, to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation — allowing immune system cells to move through the body freely and efficiently. Niacin, also known as Vitamin B-3, can help support a healthy circulatory system by optimizing and balancing blood flow throughout your body.
3. Regular Physical Activity Has an Overall Positive Effect
A 2019 article published in the Journal of Sports and Health Sciences mentions increasing evidence that regular moderate physical activity has an overall anti-inflammatory influence. This effect is achieved through several different mechanisms which include improved control of inflammatory signals, the release of certain proteins such as myokines and interleukins, and improved oxygenation.
The author of this study mentions that this effect may be more pronounced when accompanied by weight loss. The article also mentions that obesity and several chronic illnesses involve a constant state of low-grade inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune dysfunction. Exercise training supports healthy immune response and reduces the oxidative stress found in these conditions. The effect of exercise involves a balanced level of antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase.
4. Burns Calories and Maintains Healthy Body Fat
As mentioned before, obesity creates a state of chronic mild inflammation as demonstrated by balancing circulatory levels of inflammatory proteins and a decrease in anti-inflammatory proteins. This occurs in adults as well as adolescents and children. Several studies demonstrate the association between obesity and impairment of the immune system.
A study published by Cambridge University found that obesity, like other states of malnutrition, is known to impair the immune function by altering leukocyte counts as well as cell-mediated immune responses.
Regular exercise burns calories and can reduce the amount of adipose tissue in the body, and, therefore, supports the immune system’s protective functions.
5. Active Lifestyle Facilitates Better Immune Protection after Vaccines
Several studies reveal that people who maintain a regular exercise routine and active lifestyles have a better response to vaccines. Vaccinations represent a true test of the immune system. A good immune system produces an adequate response to vaccines, creating strong immunity against pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.
One study showed an improved antibody response to influenza vaccination in older adults. Research has proven that exercise facilitates long-term immunity after vaccinations — particularly important in the elderly whose immune response to vaccines can be decreased due to the effects of aging.
A routine of moderate aerobic exercise accompanied by strength training can help boost the immune system. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management techniques such as meditation and aromatherapy can make a difference in maintaining good health.
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