This is how physical exercise helps improve the functioning of the immune system

The physical exercise is one of the healthiest habits for the body, to the point of being a 'natural defense' for the proper functioning of the immune system. Thus, performing physical activity regularly helps to improve the defences.

From the Spanish Society of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine (SERMEF) they have valued the importance of physical exercise. They assure that “there are more and more scientific studies that indicate that exercise improves the immune response and, therefore, helps to reduce the risk of getting sick.”

Among other things, performing physical exercise improves blood and lymphatic flow by contracting the muscles, and increases the circulation of immune cells, such as T and NK lymphocytes .

In this regard, the SERMEF spokesperson, Marta Spuervía Pola, states that “there is evidence that physical exercise can significantly improve the body's immune capacity against respiratory viruses such as the flu and SARS-CoV-2, and its variants, causing the Covid-19.

Appropriate physical exercise to strengthen the immune system

Some of the physical activities that help improve functioning are those known as aerobic activities. This group includes the activity of walking, running, swimming or cycling. Strength exercises are also favorable for the defenses.

Ejercicio físicoPhysical exercise

Specialist María Supervía warns that extreme aerobic exercises and strength training that involve pain could have a counterproductive effect on the system immune. In relation to this type of problem, he points out that “this is because any of these longer and more intense activities, sustained over time, can cause stress in the body that could lead to a decrease in immune function.”

Another of the most important aspects to take into account is that physical exercise must always be adapted to each person and their physical situation, so that the activity can be carried out without problems and has a favorable effect on health.

«In certain cases, due to associated pathologies, cardiovascular risk factors or prolonged inactivity, a prior medical assessment will be necessary to carry out an individualized and safe medical prescription for exercise», argues the SERMEF spokesperson.

WHO recommendations

The World Health Organization (WHO) establishes general recommendations regarding the performance of beneficial physical exercise for the immune system.

Thus, among these recommendations is minimizing sedentary lifestyle, performing aerobic exercise five days a week (30 to 60 minutes a day) with moderate intensity, and develop moderate exercise strength for two or three days a week.

Regarding physical exercise, the SERMEF spokeswoman María Supervía explains that there are different ways to do it. In addition, it is advisable to regularly modify training routines, so that performing this type of physical activity does not become monotonous.

«Although other lifestyle habits, such as eating healthy, not smoking, controlling stress, ensuring good rest and others, help reduce the risk of getting sick, exercise is, of course, one of the habits more powerful that people can adopt to strengthen the immune system”, concludes the representative of the Spanish Society of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine.

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