Does Exercise Help or Hurt Your Immune System?
When people think about exercising in order to help themselves be healthier, they’re usually thinking about it in the context of weight loss and improved cardio health. As good as that may be, there’s another component of exercise that you should think about: your immune system.
Exercise can actually directly improve your immune system in a few ways, meaning that while you lose weight you’re also helping prevent yourself from getting sick. The first thing that exercise does to help prevent disease is raise your body’s temperature.
If you’ve exercised in the past, you’ve surely noticed that you get hot during a workout, as your blood is rushing faster and harder through your body. In some cases, this can be similar to a light fever, killing off certain diseases that are trying to get a foothold in your body.
Getting warm and sweaty is a quick way to burn some calories and to kill off some nasty bacteria. In a similar sense, getting your blood pumping adds another benefit. Your blood contains white blood cells, which are the cells responsible for fighting bacteria and diseases when they find them.
When you work out and really get your blood flowing faster, you have a better chance of your white blood cells picking up on a disease somewhere in your body, meaning that it’ll be caught sooner rather than later.
By catching it earlier, your body can more effectively attack the infection. The heavy breathing associated with cardio can help rid your respiratory system of unwanted bacteria.
While you’re calmly breathing as you do normally, any bacteria that have found their way in there can sort of settle in. However, by getting your lungs working hard doing cardio, they have a lower chance of being able to establish themselves and give you a cough.
While exercise is beneficial to your immune system, this doesn’t mean that you suddenly have to become a gym rat just to stay healthy. You can reap the benefits of exercise on your immune system by simply going on a brisk walk or jog every day or so.
Think of weight loss because of your appearance but your immune system. The number of BMI should be below 30 all the time. The average body fat percentages should be 25% to 31% for women and 18% to 24% for men. Waist circumference is a reliable indicator of an individual's relative amount of visceral fat. In the body, fat can be divided into two main compartments: visceral (surrounding the internal organs) and subcutaneous (under the skin). A waist circumference should be smaller than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for me.
Understanding the 5 Parts of Your Immune System
While fully understanding the different systems of your body can be difficult, it’s a bit easier if you break them down into their individual components. When it comes to your immune system, there are five main parts of it that you need to know about.
All of these parts work together to help your immune system keep you healthy and free of any serious illnesses. The first part of your immune system to understand, and arguably one of the most important, is your white blood cells.
These cells are the troopers in your body, responding directly to anything that it perceives as a threat in order to take it out and prevent it from doing any additional damage.
There are two main types, each of which has a different function when attacking foreign cells. One type will attach on to the opposing cell and weaken it, while the other will attack it directly in an attempt to kill it off.
The part of your immune system that helps the white blood cells is the complement system. This system basically boosts the effectiveness of the white blood cells in a few different ways.
One thing it does is send out signals for the white blood cells to eat the microorganisms that they take out, allowing them to clear them out of the system. Additionally, it’s the system that causes inflammation, which weakens disease cells.
Finally, when it comes to bacterial threats, it can rupture the membrane protecting it, which allows the cells to easily attack them. Your lymphatic system is a crucial part of your immune system, but is also a component of your circulatory system.
Throughout various blood vessels, the lymphatic system helps them transport certain things through the blood stream. Of course this is important for a variety of reasons, but when it comes to your immune system, this is essentially the highway which transports and directs white blood cells through your blood stream so that they can get to the infection site and do their job.
Bone marrow is a very important component of your body because it’s what produces the white blood cells that your body will use. It additionally creates red blood cells and platelets, which is what hardens and clots up to help stop bleeding.
Finally, there’s the spleen, which helps filter your blood. This removes any microorganisms found in your blood, and it also helps your immune system by creating things like antibodies, which help in the fight against diseases.
How Does Your Immune System Protect You?
Many people are aware of what your immune system does, because it’s essentially in the name. It provides the rest of your body with immunity to things like diseases and illnesses.
However, a crucial part of understanding things is not just knowing what they do, but also how they do it. Many people don’t have a clear idea of how exactly their immune systems are helping you stave off viruses, but it’s an important part of understanding your own reactions to illness and what your body needs to keep protecting itself.
One of the most common things that you’ll find your immune system doing to protect you is giving you a fever. While most people associate fevers with being a bad thing, minor fevers can actually help you. (As seen in one of COVID-19, high fever is our defense mechanism, )
Your body will raise its temperature in order to kill off the virus in your body, which can’t survive well under higher temperatures. Higher fevers can be quite dangerous still, so keep track of your temperature in case it gets too high.