Exercise strengthens immunity too

Regular exercise improves your immune system and helps to recover from minor infections

ExercisingImmunity in simple terms is the body's ability to protect itself from illnesses. While most of us are familiar with diet solutions for boosting immunity, a lot of us are unaware of the fact that exercising in moderation on a regular basis can also aid in giving your immunity a boost.

Here's how different exercises can help improve your body's defence to different illnesses:

Cardiovascular exercises

Cardio exercises comprise walking, jogging, running, aerobic dancing, cycling, swimming and certain stop-start sports like tennis and squash.

If you are someone who is constantly troubled by colds or any other minor respiratory ailments, you will be surprised that just by taking a brisk 30-minute walk daily you can bid goodbye to most of your minor ailments. Exercise not only improves blood circulation but also promotes the white blood cells to circulate at a quicker rate. Exercise slightly raises the body temperature temporarily which helps to destroy the disease-producing bacteria and viruses. Cardiovascular exercise like walking and swimming can particularly benefit people suffering from asthma as it helps to improve lung efficiency.

Weight training

The term weight training does not necessarily mean doing strenuous weight lifting. Lifting light to moderately heavy weights for just 20-30 minutes a week can actually rid you of several minor aches and pains by strengthening your bones, muscles and joints. It also prevents or delays the onset of conditions like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, back pain, knee pain and joint pain. However, try your hand at weights only under professional guidance.

Exercise helps to detoxify your system

Once you start exercising, it increases your waste output through sweat and urine. Exercise also improves bowel movements which flush out harmful toxins from the body.

Exercise helps to deal better with stress

Prolonged stress suppresses your immune system making you prone to repeated illness and infections. Exercise releases "endorphins" the feel-good hormones which help you deal better with stress, thus giving your immunity a big boost. So the next time you feel weighed down by worries, take a walk and feel the change in your ability to deal with things.

Exercise improves digestion

Just eating the right kind of food is not enough. Your body should be able to successfully assimilate the nutrients and put them to use as well. Once you start exercising, no matter what type of exercises, the intake of nutrients by your system improves which in turn makes your immune system stronger.

Thus exercise not only improves our physical fitness but also helps us fight diseases.

Healthy workout tips

Now that you know the role of exercise in boosting immunity, you may plan to hit the gym soon. While you are it, let me give you a few tips to make your workouts more efficient and keep yourself immunised from germs and other gym bugs.

  • Keep yourself clean. This is often your best defence.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs from various surfaces at the gym are transmitted to your hands and then to your face.
  • Carry your own stuff like your towels, soaps, water-bottles and other common things you need before, during or after workout.
  • Use "shared items" minimally. Remember that gyms equipments are used by numerous people throughout the day. Hence, it is important to have a bath after your workout.
  • Eat healthy. Include 85 per cent whole grains, whole fresh foods like fruits and vegetables in their natural form daily. Eat protein-rich food as proteins help in enhancing immunity levels.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water not only cleanses your body, but also has a pivotal role in boosting immunity.
  • Get adequate rest. Rest is necessary so that muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen.
  • Get enough sleep. During sleep, your body's immune system goes into high gear protecting you from illness. Lack of sleep can reduce immune functioning making you susceptible to sickness.
  • Stay away from caffeine and alcohol. These not only dehydrate you, but also make you susceptible to health complications.
  • Listen to your body. If you think you need rest, take it. Working out when you are tired does you more harm than good.

These simple tips will help you stay healthy and fit in the most efficient way.

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Samreedhi Goel
Samreedhi Goel is a Nutritionist and Personal trainer & fitness columnist who has been a part of the fitness industry since 1999. She has helped hundreds of people shape up, lose weight, achieve the body of their dreams, become fitter and healthier individuals and overcome chronic health problems through her fitness studio Size Wise.Her fitness columns and interviews appear on a regular basis in prestigious publications like Complete Wellbeing, Sunday Midday, Rediff.com, Seventeen India, Mumbai.

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