How Exercise Can Strengthen Your Immune System

Exercise not only boosts mental wellbeing, our immune systems get a boost also!

We all know the benefits of physical activity for both physical and mental health.  However, decreasing inflammation requires just the right intensity of exercise. Moderate levels of exercise are known to lower inflammatory markers, whereas intense exercise does not.


We know that Interleuken-6 (IL-6) is an immune marker that significantly drives inflammation in COVID-19, and since skeletal muscle has been shown to both produce and release large amounts of IL-6 after prolonged exercise, caution should be used when considering the form and duration of exercise.


Some of the benefits of exercise include:

Physical exercise can help flush bacteria out ofthe airways, reducing your chance of getting respiratory illness

Exercise increases the production of white bloodcells and antibodies

Exercise slows down the release of stress hormoneswhich directly reduces the risk of illness.

Exercise reduces blood pressure and inflammation,two of the main underlying concerns in Covid patients

Exercise has a positive effect on sleep whichindirectly affects immune function

What type of exercise is recommended and how much?

If you are a beginner to exercise, going for a daily walk for 20-30 minutes is a good starting point or even a short bike ride can be beneficial.

If you are more experienced, 30 – 40 minutes of exercise is recommended. Training much more than that can be detrimental to the immune system, so getting the balance just right is important.

If you have a health condition that affects your ability to exercise, think about doing Qigong for 10-15 minutes a day. It's a great way of getting the same benefits without exertion or putting stress on joints.

Paolucci EM, Loukov D, Bowdish DME, Heisz JJ. Exercise reduces depression and inflammation but intensity matters. Biol Psychol. 2018 Mar;133:79-84.
Muñoz-Cánoves P, Scheele C, Pedersen BK, Serrano AL. Interleukin-6 myokine signaling in skeletal muscle: a double-edged sword? FEBS J. 2013