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How Much Exercise Can Protect You From Getting Sick? Less than you think



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Exercise can help boost your overall health and immune system.


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Now more than ever, people are looking for ways to stay healthy, relieve stress and feel better. For many, the exercise fits that bill. It can make you feel happier helping you blow off steam and have more energy, among other benefits. But one thing many people wonder about before a global pandemic is: Can exercise really boost your immune system? And if you're already sick, can it help you recover faster?

Exercise and immunity is a frequently discussed topic and researchers have studied it for several years. On the one hand, researchers say that intense training without adequate recovery can make you more susceptible to illness, but another study in 2018 claims that they told the myth that intense training suppresses immunity. A recent analysis published in the international journal Exercise Immunology Review showed that regular, moderate exercise is beneficial for a healthy immune system.

Since the evidence is mixed and also depends a lot on what type of exercise you do and how long, how often you do it – I decided to use a doctor and expert on infectious diseases to shed some light on the topic. Below you will find her insights on the connection between the immune system and exercise as well as an overview of what science has to say about the subject.

How exercise affects your immune system

When people say "exercise boosts your immune system" they probably refer to the short-term effect that exercise has on your white blood cells, the cells needed to fight infections. "Any form of stress on the body – whether it is a workout or infection, or extremely environmental condition – the normal response our bodies have to stress is to increase the number of white blood cells in the blood. They are out to kind of patrol for anything that can be harmful, all toxins and everything that can cause harm, says Dr. Sandra Kesh, who specializes in infectious diseases and internal medicine.

Kesh also said that your exercise does not have to be as strenuous to trigger the immune response, so almost all exercise activities like you do for about 15 minutes at least a day can help.

In addition to the effect the exercise has on your white blood cell count, it can also provide many other health benefits that everyone adds to prevent you from getting sick. "Getting into a routine with good exercise gives yourself some protection against getting the infection (COVID-19), have a severe form of the infection and helps wisely in ps ykish health. We know that stress is a major problem for the immune system and it really prevents our body from fighting infection and therefore exercise is a great way to keep stress levels in check, "says Dr. Kesh.

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Intensive training can have a dampening effect on your immune system.


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Health experts like Dr. Jordan Metzl and other researchers say you may have too much good in training. These experts say that making long, intense workouts, especially without adequate rest and recovery days can mean bad news for your immune system and even make you more susceptible to disease. A 2019 study shows that it is clear that exercise can improve health and immune function, but periods of intense exercise can put you at greater risk of illness. Other researchers have discussed the topic and gone back and forth about exactly what effect intensive training can have on immune health.

No matter how you look at your fitness routine, we know that overtraining is bad news for many reasons (and probably for your immune system) and prioritizes recovery rest and sleep is the key. To be sure, the best thing you can do is work out, but don't push yourself too hard, make sure you take plenty of rest days and time to recover. Dr. Kesh also suggests that now is not the time to train for a marathon or any other extreme fitness event that will require you to put your body through a lot of stress and strain. Save it for when the pandemic is over and prioritize moderate, regular exercise instead.

How Much Exercise Do You Really Need to Stay Good

You definitely don't need to run a marathon to stay good you don't have to even exercise for an hour a day, for that matter. Experts like Dr. Kesh and the Department of Health and Human Services say you only need about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to stay healthy.

"We know that people who exercise, even moderately 15-20 minutes a day, most days of the week (5-6 days) become less ill. There was a study that showed that they had fewer sick days per day. years, and when they got sick they weren't as sick compared to people who were largely sedentary, says Dr. Kesh.

"I want to follow what the Department of Health and Human Services says, which is 150 minutes a week for moderate exercise. If you exercise vigorously, then 75 minutes a week. And preferably you spread it so that you get some exercise most days. That amount of exercise keeps your immune system trained but not overloaded. So if there is some kind of foreign invader it can respond but not be overwhelming, "says Kesh.

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You should only exercise when you feel you have recovered from a disease3 [19659]. Getty Images

Exercise and COVID-19 Symptoms and Recovery

As Kesh mentioned earlier, patients who have COVID-19 and followed an exercise routine before being ill have less severe symptoms and recover faster.

"One of the things we find is that a complication in people with severe infections is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a lung condition, and it tends to happen in people who do not exercise and their lung capacity is not as increased as people who exercise Dr. Kesh also added that experts do not fully understand what is going on in the lungs of people with severe COVID-19 infections, but the healthier the person was before they were infected, the better the outcome.

"We know the healthier you go to any infection, the more likely you are to recover and recover faster. So your physiological onset status is one of the biggest predictors of where you end up after the infection is over. And then I tell my patients, now it's time to quit smoking, now it's time to start an exercise routine, now it's time to start eating eating healthy because doing these things will make you better place to fight the infection if you get it. "

When it comes to recovery of COVID-19, Dr. Kesh recommends taking things very slowly when you feel like exercising after getting the virus. You don't want to do too much too soon and try not to jump back to your routine full force. "Take it one day at a time and work your way up again (as you recover). But going back to a workout routine definitely helps with recovery, as long as you do it incrementally and not bite off more than you can chew prematurely because the disease may recur and you may start to feel worse again and sit back, "said Kesh.





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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objective.


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