20
March
2013

Exercise and Your Health

How to stay cold-free through a healthy lifestyle

Exercise and Your Health

During the cold season, we tend to shut ourselves inside most of the day, either at work or at home, avoiding the cold outside and the risk of catching an infection. However, one of the best ways to keep your immune system healthy and responsive to viruses such as the cold and the flu is by staying active and getting plenty of exercise. An active body is a healthy body, and you will be surprised not only by the decrease in the rate at which you get sick, but also in your overall vitality and sense of well-being.

Benefits of exercise

Regular, moderate exercise has been proven to increase the body’s immunity to common pathogens, such as cold and flu viruses. Several theories exist as to just how exercising increases the capacity of the immune system to fight infection. When exercising, your body temperature can increase substantially, which can kill off bacteria and viruses in much the same manner as a fever does. Physical activity also helps flush the body of toxins and waste products. The heavy breathing brought on by exercise also helps purge the lungs and sinuses of bacteria. In addition, the increased circulation that occurs during exercise speeds up natural immunity and healing processes. Oxygenation of the tissues increases, which improves organ function and helps speed recovery from illness and injury. Increased circulation also improves the immune response to infection, as white blood cells are brought more rapidly to combat pathogens. Finally, exercise increases basal metabolic rate and improves overall health, which can help fight both short-term infections and chronic disorders such as heart disease.

In addition to the direct physical benefits of exercise, there is a strong mental and emotional component involved. Regular exercise and proper diet gives you a sense of control and self-satisfaction. This helps prevent seasonal depression, lethargy, and low self-esteem, all of which boost overall health.

Exercise tips

The healthiest forms of exercise for most people are moderate, relatively short periods of physical activity repeated several times per week. This can involve walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or playing competitive sports for at least 20-30 minutes per day, 3-5 days per week. This type of exercise increases your heart rate, should cause you to sweat at least mildly, and should make you breathe hard. Many people also enjoy going to a gym several times per week. Classes such as aerobics and yoga are great ways to have a group atmosphere for your workout, which aids in keeping your energy levels and focus high. Weight lifting and cardio machines such as treadmills and rotating stair machines are also good options. However, getting outside for your exercise also has many benefits. Exposure to sunlight helps your body obtain adequate levels of vitamin D, and the fresh air invigorates your lungs.

Precautions

While exercise is a great way to improve your overall immune system, there are certain situations that should be avoided for the purposes of fighting infections. Excessively vigorous or repetitive workout programs can actually be harmful to your immunity, as this produces extreme stress in the body which can decrease circulating levels of white blood cells and expose you to infection. Heavy, long-term exercise such as marathon training or intense weight lifting should be avoided in this context, and you should also avoid spending long periods of time out-doors in cold weather if your clothes are wet with sweat or rain.

Categories: Exercise

3.3/5 rating (3 votes)

Nutrition Facts

20
March
2013

Exercise and Your Health

How to stay cold-free through a healthy lifestyle

Exercise and Your Health

During the cold season, we tend to shut ourselves inside most of the day, either at work or at home, avoiding the cold outside and the risk of catching an infection. However, one of the best ways to keep your immune system healthy and responsive to viruses such as the cold and the flu is by staying active and getting plenty of exercise. An active body is a healthy body, and you will be surprised not only by the decrease in the rate at which you get sick, but also in your overall vitality and sense of well-being.

Benefits of exercise

Regular, moderate exercise has been proven to increase the body’s immunity to common pathogens, such as cold and flu viruses. Several theories exist as to just how exercising increases the capacity of the immune system to fight infection. When exercising, your body temperature can increase substantially, which can kill off bacteria and viruses in much the same manner as a fever does. Physical activity also helps flush the body of toxins and waste products. The heavy breathing brought on by exercise also helps purge the lungs and sinuses of bacteria. In addition, the increased circulation that occurs during exercise speeds up natural immunity and healing processes. Oxygenation of the tissues increases, which improves organ function and helps speed recovery from illness and injury. Increased circulation also improves the immune response to infection, as white blood cells are brought more rapidly to combat pathogens. Finally, exercise increases basal metabolic rate and improves overall health, which can help fight both short-term infections and chronic disorders such as heart disease.

In addition to the direct physical benefits of exercise, there is a strong mental and emotional component involved. Regular exercise and proper diet gives you a sense of control and self-satisfaction. This helps prevent seasonal depression, lethargy, and low self-esteem, all of which boost overall health.

Exercise tips

The healthiest forms of exercise for most people are moderate, relatively short periods of physical activity repeated several times per week. This can involve walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or playing competitive sports for at least 20-30 minutes per day, 3-5 days per week. This type of exercise increases your heart rate, should cause you to sweat at least mildly, and should make you breathe hard. Many people also enjoy going to a gym several times per week. Classes such as aerobics and yoga are great ways to have a group atmosphere for your workout, which aids in keeping your energy levels and focus high. Weight lifting and cardio machines such as treadmills and rotating stair machines are also good options. However, getting outside for your exercise also has many benefits. Exposure to sunlight helps your body obtain adequate levels of vitamin D, and the fresh air invigorates your lungs.

Precautions

While exercise is a great way to improve your overall immune system, there are certain situations that should be avoided for the purposes of fighting infections. Excessively vigorous or repetitive workout programs can actually be harmful to your immunity, as this produces extreme stress in the body which can decrease circulating levels of white blood cells and expose you to infection. Heavy, long-term exercise such as marathon training or intense weight lifting should be avoided in this context, and you should also avoid spending long periods of time out-doors in cold weather if your clothes are wet with sweat or rain.

Categories: Exercise

3.3/5 rating (3 votes)

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