With a current global pandemic and economic uncertainty, now, more than ever, people are paying attention to their health and ways to boost their immunity. We all know to eat healthily and maybe take a few extra supplements, but what about exercise? It is, of course, great for stress management and a healthy lifestyle, but what about a healthy immune system?
Exercise and Hormones
When thinking about exercising, we know that it helps to build muscle, but few of us realize how. Exercise is not about burning calories to build muscle and burn fat, it all has to do with your hormones. Human growth hormone and testosterone are both released during specific kinds of physical activity and not only help the body build muscle, but they help boost the immune system.
Exercising for a Healthy Immune System?
There are several reasons exercise can boost the immune system including:
- Boosting circulation which carries cells, like white blood cells used to fight disease, and other important substances from the immune system to the rest of the body. With a faster circulation, the infection can be caught and dealt with more rapidly.
- Flushing bacteria from the lungs to help reduce the risk of colds or influenza
- Raising the body temperature during physical activity which may help fight infection or keep bacteria from growing.
- Preventing or slowing the release of hormones caused by stress which can actually weaken the system.
- Minimizing inflammation in the body which can be taxing on the body’s defense system.
- Boosting the function of T-cells and natural killer cells which play a significant role in defending the body against harmful substances.
What Type of Exercise?
While any sort of consistent movement may be beneficial, one of the most effective forms of exercise for boosting human growth hormone and testosterone is HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. With this form of physical activity, you give maximum effort for a short period of time, 20-30 seconds, then rest until you can do it again.
The goal with HIIT is to use up all the sugar (glycogen) in the muscles for energy so you are forced to not only burn fat for the next 36 hours, but restore glycogen to the muscles. This will help build muscle, and may even help you lose weight in addition to boosting the immune system with important hormones.
For many of us, a high intensity workout may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with easy movements like running in place for five to ten seconds at full speed, then rest and repeat. Over time, your body will be able to tackle new movements for longer periods of time.
With so many of us currently quarantined inside of our homes, what better time to start an exercise routine! Not only will this improve your immune system, but it can minimize stress and having you feeling and looking better in no time. Spend your extra free time establishing the right habits for you and your family that will lead to a happier, healthier lifestyle.