So today I am going to talk about the Immune System! What on earth does it have to do with exercise though?
Well, as it turns out, a whole lot. The immune system likes to sit at a sort of baseline level. As we move through our days and weeks and are exposed to different things it fights to maintain it's steady balance to remain at your personal baseline.
When you add in exercise into your day you actually DEPRESS the immune system.
*Wait. What???? Why is this stuff being pushed on us all over the place if it depresses my immune system?!*
Don't despair!!!! When we exercise regularly we actually BOOST the baseline of our immune system!!! The trick is to keep it consistent. Working out every other day may be a good sweet spot for you to keep your immune system steady and working on beefing itself up. Similar to cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength training. Consistency is key.
Below is a super simplified, non-scientifically numbered graph. It's meant to give a simplified big picture so you can see what I'm talking about visually.
-Follow the Medium orange line at the bottom to see what happens when you work out once in a while. You drop deep below your baseline and it takes a long time for the immune system to pick back up again.
-Follow the dark orange line to see what baseline is like when you don't exercise and just maintain a similar day to day without any notable exertion.
-Follow the lighter line that starts above baseline to see how your immune system re-regulates to stay above the "normal" or previous baseline. This is where you want to be. Bounce back is faster and you keep your immune system stronger than your non-exercise baseline every day!
Here is a cool article with some more fun images for you.
If you'd like to read a nice review of literature looking at the body's immune response to exercise this one may be of interest to you. They also get into the question of exercise intensity and the immune response. Their findings seem to suggest that high intensity exercise is very beneficial and quite protective!
Moral of the story? Make exercise a regular and consistent part of your lifestyle.
I am an Exercise Physiologist and mother of two lovely ladies. I love teaching my community about health and wellness and I love helping likeminded people implement natural solutions into their everyday lives.