Fight the cold with exercise

Fight the cold with exercise teaser
It’s that time of the year again when we all fall prey to the cold and flu. Have you ever wondered why some get sick more frequently than others? It may have something to do with their immune system.


 
Firstly, let’s take a look at how our immune system works and how it can protect us. The immune system is a communication network of defensive and offensive cells, most commonly the B and T cells that helps to defend the body (white blood cells). B cells produce antibodies that aid in attacking antigens in preparation for the T cells to finish the job. B cells work as a ‘look out’ for the T cells to prepare to fight. Like any other line of defence and systems, sometimes there can be ‘gaps’ or they can be disrupted.

It turns out that the modern adult lifestyle isn’t that great for our health. The role of diet and exercise can play a big part on how our immune system functions. If you aren’t taking part in a regular exercise regime and making better food choices, you are putting yourself at risk this winter. Let’s take a look at how exercise can improve your immune system.

How can exercise help?
A study done by the University of New Mexico found that in individuals who took part in a vigorous aerobic regime, their white blood cells rose 40%. They state that most of the body’s white blood cells are stored in tissue and vein walls and therefore the increased need for oxygen during exercise aids in increasing circulation resulting in movement of these cells into the blood stream. It has also been stated that this effect can last up to several hours following exercises and can also aid in fighting infections long term.

Is it safe to exercise when I am sick?
Yes, it is safe to exercise however only at a light-moderate intensity and away from others. You can change up your regime by walking outside with warm clothes or doing some exercise in the house. Although it is safe, it is recommended to rest when you have a fever.
Keep moving this winter and always consult with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist on tailored exercise and advice regarding your health and fitness goals.

Travis King
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
360 Health + Community

References
COLD COMFORT: RATHER THAN RELY ON COLD MEDICINES TO SUPPRESS SYMPTOMS, TUNE UP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AND HELP YOUR BODY HEAL ITSELF THIS WINTER. Yoga Journal. Feb 2000, Issue 151, p106. 3p
Training Effects on Immune Function in Judoists. Asian J Sports Med. 2015 September; 6(3): e24050
Exercise May "Toughen" Immune System. Yoga Journal. Jun90, Issue 92, p14. 1p.
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