You already know that exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of many chronic age-related diseases, and it’s an important part of your weight loss plan too. But you might be surprised to learn that your exercise routine can actually keep you healthy by supporting your immune system and reducing your odds of getting sick!
It’s not a surefire, guaranteed solution to illness. Even with regular, dedicated exercise no one is promised perfect health. But those who work out regularly do reap some benefits for their immune systems.
When you exercise, muscle contractions and increased blood flow stimulate the parts of your immune system that attack viruses and bacteria (like your T cells, for example). Their ability to recognize and attack foreign invaders is heightened for several hours after exercise. If you work out regularly, the benefits multiply and tend to keep you healthier over the long term.
How much exercise is the right amount? Fortunately, the same amount recommended for your weight loss plan will also benefit your immune system. Aim to exercise about five days per week, for about 45 minutes each time.
You do still need rest days, and pushing yourself to work out for more than an hour at a time won’t carry any increased benefit for your immune system. In fact, for some people pushing themselves too hard can actually result in a weakened immune system and illness. You definitely need to aim for that sweet spot, in which you exercise enough to burn calories and stimulate your immune system, but not so much that you feel worn out.
For more advice on an exercise program that supports your weight loss plan and reduces the risk of illness, give us a call. We can help you design a routine that is appropriate for your current level of fitness, but also challenges you enough to gradually become more fit and healthy.