Exercise gives your body a natural boost

  • Natural defence: exercise can help boost the immune system (Photograph supplied)

    Natural defence: exercise can help boost the immune system (Photograph supplied)

  • Fitness expert: Betty Doyling

    Fitness expert: Betty Doyling


With coronavirus on the loose around the world, and stocks of hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes low, it’s important to know that we can boost our immune system through exercise.

Most of us are likely aware that washing our hands and keeping them away from our faces can assist in keeping the virus away, however we also need to focus on keeping our immune system fired up.

Moderate, consistent exercise helps. Studies have shown that recreational exercisers have fewer colds once they begin working out regularly. Moderate exercise contributes to a positive immune system response and boosts the production of cells called macrophages, that attack bacteria. Studies have also shown that consistent exercise can lead to substantial long-term benefits in immune system health.

When you exercise moderately, immune cells circulate through the body and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. The immune system generally returns to normal within a few hours after a workout is completed, but consistent, regular exercise seems to make these changes last longer.

When exercising intensely for long periods, studies have shown a temporary decrease in immune system function. Research has discovered that during intense exercise, our bodies produce hormones that lower our immunity temporarily.

Cortisol and adrenalin, stress hormones, raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels and hinder the immune system. If you are training for an endurance sport, a key part of your training should be including enough recovery days to give your body time to recover. If you are feeling run-down or think you may be overtraining, you may need to tone down your workouts.

If you are already sick, you should be careful about exercising intensely. Your immune system is already worn and fighting infection, any additional stress could hinder your recovery.

So stay wise. Wash your hands, keep your hands away from your face, exercise smartly and B-Active For Life!

Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Look for B. ActiveForLife on Facebook.

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Published Mar 11, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 11, 2020 at 8:12 am)

Exercise gives your body a natural boost

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