At a moment of a global virus outbreak, it is more vital than ever to boost your immune system by keeping a regular exercise schedule. No matter you wish to jog or walk briskly, a pair of FitVille will be your best pal. In addition, we will donate $2 for every pair of shoes we sell to support coronavirus response efforts.
Over the years, health research has found that regular exercise can boost the immune system and help your body fight off disease.
Researchers at the University of California-San Diego of Medicine found that as little as 20 minutes of exercise can have anti-inflammatory effects that . They specifically monitored the effects of one 20-minute session of moderate treadmill exercise, but Suzi Hong, Ph.D., says that fast walking appears to have similar effects.
In this , 47 participants first gave a blood sample before exercising. Then, they walked on a treadmill for about 20 minutes—with the intensity adjusted for each person’s fitness level—then provided another blood sample immediately after. The blood samples showed that the exercise caused a 5 percent decrease in the number of immune cells producing a cytokine, or protein, called TNF. (More on TNF later.)
Here’s why that’s important: Exercise activates the sympathetic nervous system, a pathway that increases heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. When this happens, the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine are released into the bloodstream and activate a cellular reaction that suppresses cytokines, including TNF. TNF has some admirable qualities, like boosting immune responses and killing cancer cells, but it also has pro-inflammatory properties.
Moderate exercise also has an abundance of other health benefits, like controlling hypertension and diabetes, preventing Alzheimer’s, reducing anxiety and stress, and slowing the aging process. Dr. Terzic says that people who engage in moderate exercise regularly can increase their lifespan by up to 10 years. “Exercise is our best medicine for almost every single disease you can think of,” she says.
The best part? Light to moderate exercise is as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or spending a few more minutes walking your dog. That’s right—no gym membership required!