By Ashley Williams
During these times one might wonder how they can better their immune system to fight off infectious diseases. Physiological immunity can be a difficult concept to grasp. Typically, a healthy immune system is composed of complex white blood cells (WBCs) that flow through your body searching for pathogens to destroy, but not all immune systems run that smoothly. What can we be doing to help our WBCs fight off nasty pathogens?
Our basic understanding is that a “healthier” person will have a stronger immunity to pathogens. Because immunity is a complex system, that is affected by multiple different factors, it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific solution for strengthening our immunity. The best we can do to strengthen our immune system, is pay attention to our overall health. This means cutting out alcohol and smoking, getting a good night’s sleep, eating fruits and vegetables, and implementing regular exercise.
Regular exercise has proven to improve cardiovascular health, reduce blood pressure, maintain healthy weight, better mental illnesses, and encourage stress management. Exercise is considered an important pillar to your health. It is also thought to have a direct impact on your immune system. Theories indicate that exercise increases immunity through its mechanism to increase blood flow. As exercise stimulates blood flow, it allows WBCs to travel through your body quicker and more effectively. This could allow WBCs to locate and fight off pathogens faster than a sedentary individual.
Maintaining an overall consistent, healthy lifestyle is your best option when working toward strengthening your immune system. Like diet, exercise is considered an important tool when taking care of our health. If we implement exercise into our regular routines, we can help our WBCs fight off infectious diseases by promoting favorable circulation. Look for our posts on safe exercises you can carry out at home during quarantine!
Nieman, David C., and Laurel M. Wentz. “The Compelling Link between Physical Activity and
the Body's Defense System.” Journal of Sport and Health Science, vol. 8, no. 3, 2019, pp.