Improve your Immune System with Exercise
More and more we hear that many of today’s illnesses and infirmities derive from an unbalanced immune system. Either the body can no longer protect itself from outside agents attacking it, or the body has become confused and attacks itself as if it was the enemy.
In addition to a healthy diet and efficient, restful sleep, aerobic exercise is a key factor in immune system health. Simply staying active by walking for 30 minutes every day on a treadmill or using an elliptical trainer is adequate.
In fact, over doing it with strenuous exercise is not a good idea because over-exercising can suppress the immune system. However, light aerobic exercise helps by stimulating the circulation and encouraging the flow of lymph fluid through the body. Exercise also improves the oxygen supply of tissue and immune system cells. Exercise also reduces stress, stimulates a good appetite and helps reduce inflammation.
Aerobic exercise has also been shown to improve emotional health. No one is exactly sure why, but some theorize that enhanced stamina and a body that makes better , more efficient use of oxygen, tends to have a positive impact on the mind and even have antidepressant value. Many studies have shown that a positive outlook has tremendous healing powers.
Getting adequate sleep and rest is another often overlooked lifestyle change that affects immune system health. Studies show that most people with autoimmune disorders benefit from 8-9 hours of restful sleep each night. Sleep deprivation interferes with healing in many ways including its detrimental effect on our emotional health. A body that is practicing regular aerobic exercise tends to sleep better and is certainly more efficient during that sleep process.
Exposure to natural sunlight is also important for immune system health. Several major studies show that a deficiency of vitamin D associated with decreased exposure to sunlight is linked to the development of several different autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis and autoimmune thyroid disorders. But don’t over do it. Too much sun can lead to a host of skin ailments including cancer. Remember that if you set out to tan, make sure you are using a good sunscreen in order to protect your skin and choose UV protecting eye gear as well.
Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program or changing your exercise routine significantly. This is especially important if you have been sedentary for a long time , are overweight, have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem.