Naturally Combat Colds And Flu With Daily Exercise
Written by: Brandi Monasco
There are a lot of great reasons why you should consider exercising each and every day; it is key to leading a healthy life.
Exercising, no matter what it is that you do, does amazing things for your physical health, such as making your heart healthier and stronger and also your mental health, such as lowering your stress levels.
But, did you know that exercising can also help you to fight off colds and the flu?
- Exercising causes changes in your body’s white blood cells and antibodies. It increases your body’s production of macrophages, which are important cells that your immune system uses to help attack and fight off the different kinds of bacteria that can cause a cold or the flu. Macrophages are actually one of the major groups of white blood cells of your immune system. When you exercise, the macrophages are able to circulate easier throughout your body. Your body returns to normal after your exercise.
- Exercising causes your body temperature to rise. When your body temperature rises, your body prevents bacteria from growing, therefore reducing your risk of catching a cold or the flu. A rise in body temperature also helps your body with fighting the infection if you were to have one. This is very similar to what happens within your body when you have a fever.
- When you exercise, your heart gets stronger, which makes it able to pump more and more blood throughout your entire body. Your lungs also become stronger and become better at handling oxygen and dispersing it to the rest of your body. Exercise helps flush out any bacteria that may be lurking in your lungs and airways, which also helps in reducing your chances of getting a cold or the flu.
- Exercising regularly slows down the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, which is released when your body acts in response to stressful events or situations. Cortisol plays a role in regulating your immune system, blood pressure and anti-inflammatory actions. Normally, your cortisol levels return to normal after you have removed the stressor from your life. Often times, this does not happen and it ends up wreaking havoc on your body. Lowering your levels of cortisol with exercise can not only make you feel better and calmer, but also lower your chances of developing a condition or disease such as blood sugar imbalances or a lower thyroid function.
While regular and moderate exercise is good for increasing your immune system to help ward off colds and the flu, exercising too much can actually do the opposite and can hurt your immune system. Your body still needs time to rest and heal, especially if you are exercising while you are sick. Not giving your body time to rest will only weaken your immune system.
If you decide to exercise while you’re sick, here are a few steps that you can take to make sure that you don’t over do it:
1. Remember to gently stretch before and after your workout.
2. Drink plenty of water while exercising, especially if you’re working out in the heat.
3. If you’re exercising in the cold, wear a hat and gloves to avoid losing body heat.
4. Slow down and catch your breath if you get cramps in your side.
What is your favorite way to get your exercise in? Share with us in the comments below!
Source, Source, Source, Source
Source: 999 Little-Known Natural Healing Foods and Proven Home Remedies. (1994). Peachtree City, GA: FC&A Publishing.
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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