5 Exercises to Boost Your Immune System this Winter

Fitness // Louise McDonald

Keeping your immune system in tiptop shape is one of the most important ways to prevent disease and infections.

A good immune system is key in strengthening your ability to fight off sickness and lowers the risk of peaks and troughs with your approach to exercise.

Here are 5 examples of exercises that can be done at any fitness level, to optimise a healthy immune system and leave you feeling great during the winter months.

1. Strength training

Resistance training is a fantastic way to keep yourself fighting fit – just a few times per week can be sufficient.

You can do this at home or at the gym –  it’s up to you – and even body-weighted exercises work well.

When you build more muscle, this stores protein in the body which is made up of amino acids and this helps to produce anti-bodies and white blood cells. These are essential for tackling nasties in the body and keeping things at bay.

Also read: What Really Happens to Your Body When You Skip a Workout

2. Yoga/Tai Chi

These movements are awesome in creating space for mindfulness and in turn, this reduces stress, through deep breathing and movement of the lymphatic system.

Yoga and Tai Chi helps to push toxins from the body through increased oxygen to the organs and this assists with ideal function.

3. Walking

Walking for as little as just 30 minutes per day is a great way to support your immunity. If this is done outdoors, it offers the added bonus of a mental boost with a calming effect.

4. Aerobic work

Aerobic exercise encourages blood flow by pumping more blood around your body and strengthening your heart.

This increases your body temperature, which may prevent bacteria from rising, and this exercise works on overall weight reduction.

A lower level of fat cells in the body reduces the amount of inflammatory chemicals that they secrete, decreasing both the risk of infection and tissue damage.

Your lungs are working harder too, meaning your capacity to handle more oxygen improves and this helps flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways.

Types of aerobic exercise could be:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Jogging
  • Gym classes
  • HIIT sessions
  • Jumping jacks
  • Skipping

5. Golf/recreational sports

Participating in something like this is a very cool way to get some immune boosting activity in, while having fun and perhaps including others into the regime.

In summary…

  • You don’t need to be an elite athlete to give your immune system a great boost! By keeping things simple – and consistent – you’re on the right track.
  • Avoid too many lengthy sessions that may encourage overtraining, and stick to a sensible routine.
  • Do something each day; this can include ‘active rest’, such as a brisk walk or yoga.
  • Train lightly even if you don’t really feel like it, however, if you are really sick this is not always recommended.
  • Do your best to incorporate daily practice with exercise to help strengthen your immune system over time.
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