Article – 5 Ways Exercise Can Give Your Immune System a Boost
The other morning my wife and I were sharing some Facebook scrolling time with each other, a new quarantined past time. I know some of you can relate. We routinely include each other in the silliness we’ve come across, like the picture of the “Hoarder” Collie sitting in front of a stockpile of toilet paper. That’s still my personal favorite.
On this particular morning, my wife showed me a pic of this guy in a button down shirt that was clearly multiple sizes to small as the buttons threatened to all explode at once. The caption read, “Me getting dressed to go into work after 2 months of social distancing.” We laughed at the silliness of the picture. Then we talked about about how much truth it revealed about so many of us. Can you relate?
We all understand logically that exercise is in the “good for us” category. The subject is broad and encompasses all walks of folks. It is a practice that supports us at every stage of our lives, and for good reason! In today’s article, I would like to shed some light on the subject of immunity and exercise. Specifically, I will share 5 ways that exercise can boost your immune system.
1. Exercise Fortifies Both our Mental and Physical Health
I have always believed that if we take care of our minds first, the body will follow. What I mean by this is simple, but not easy. We must do the things that keep us mentally strong, things like getting adequate sleep, smiling more and finding reason to do so, practicing some kind of daily form of prayer or meditation, and daring to be vulnerable with others to name a few. In doing these things, we are more inclined to also seek movement more. We learn that the stress of exercise is a GOOD thing and we embrace the challenge of it. In doing so, we boost our immune function as we get our D.O.S.E. (Thank you for this acronym Todd Durkin). DOSE stands for Dopamine, Oxytocin, Seratonin and Endorphins. The cocktail does amazing things for supporting our immunity as well as our overall well being.
2. Daily Doses of Aerobic Exercise Improve our Body’s Use & Delivery of Life-Sustaining Oxygen
Oxygen is the enemy of disease and the friend of healthy cells. Lack of oxygen in the bloodstream due to physical inactivity is a common factor in asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and variations of COPD (Chronic Obstuctive Pulmonary Disorder).
Insufficient oxygen in the blood has also been linked to virtually every major category of illnesses including: the development of cancer, heart conditions, problems with the intestinal tract, respiratory disease, joint problems, sinus issues, yeast infections, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and sexual dysfunction.
3. Physical Exercise Promotes Deployment of our Body’s “Special Forces” Against Disease
When we engage in any kind of physical activity that gets our heart rate up for at least 20 minutes a day for 5 or more days per week, our body senses the effort as some kind of stress internally to itself. As a result of this messaging, certain types of white blood cells, the equivalent of Army Rangers within us, are deployed into our bloodstream from different parts of our bodies where they had previously been called to action. These very specialized cells, with names like neutrophils and lymphocytes, have been found to be come out and circulate in higher concentrations post-exercise. Pathogens, like COVID-19, stand less of a chance of doing harm when these immune boosting cells are so prevalent in our blood stream.
This whole kick start to the immune system is only temporary; it lasts about three hours. It occurs after each bout of moderate to vigorous exercise. So if you continue to exercise regularly, you’ll continue to experience elevated recruitment of your own special forces platoon after each session.
4. Physical Exercise Reduces Chronic Stress Hormone Release
Have you ever been startled suddenly? You’ll recall that your heart rate increased and you may have reacted by yelling, swinging or running. All of these responses are normal when we feel like our lives are in danger. These actions are directed and supported by stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. When their release is acute, they are very supportive but when our bodies perceive stress as ongoing, the result is counter our immunity. Chronic release of stress hormones is linked to various forms of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases and many other ills of the body.
When we participate regularly in physical exercise, particularly more vigorous forms of it like running, weight lifting and interval training the action literally uses up stress hormones while also promoting the release of feel good hormones, like endorphins that further keep feelings of stress at bay.
5. Exercise Increases Insulin Sensitivity in our Cells and Naturally Lowers Blood Sugar.
Insulin sensitivity refers to how sensitive the body’s cells are in response to insulin. High insulin sensitivity allows the cells of the body to use blood glucose, our bodies preferred energy source derived primarily from carbohydrates, more effectively, reducing its concentration in our blood. High concentrations not managed cause inflammation. Physical exercise increases the body’s ability to transport and metabolize sugar, getting it out of our system. By maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar, we avoid the horrible complications often associated with diabetes like heart and kidney disease, neuropathy, blindness, and Alzheimer’s.
Let’s keep doing our best to stay strong physically as well as mentally during this pandemic. Take these 5 ways exercise can boost your immunity to heart and put them into action. I promise you will be glad you did. And, if you’re already doing so, good on you! Keep it up!
Till next time, keep on MOVING BETTER to FEEL BETTER to LIVE BETTER.
Client Spotlight – Bob Funk
- How did you hear about BodyBasics?
Neighbors in my community recommended BB
2. Did you evaluate other gyms or trainers before deciding on coming to us? If yes, what were other places missing that BodyBasics was able to provide?
I do not enjoy “big box” facilities. BB is more intimate and personal. I never feel like I am in a competition with anyone other then myself
3. Ultimately, why did you choose BodyBasics over other options?
Again, friends and neighbor recommendation
4. What goals did you have when you started at BodyBasics?
Improve my balance… Improve my overall strength… Increase my stamina
5. How long have you been training at BodyBasics? What are some personal successes you have achieved so far?
I have been with BB since late January of this year. My balance has improved. My strength has definitely improved. My stamina is still an issue, but also improving
6. To someone reading who may be uncertain still about investing in themselves, and with us at BodyBasics, what would you say to them?
Personal training is truly an “investment”. But, what better investment could you make then to improve your health and well being. You are worth it!!
COVID-19 Related Plans We Want You to Know About
- We’ve removed 3 mirrors to increase usability of our walls. This will support social distancing in the studio with greater ease as we will be able to create mini-stations at multiple points in the studio.
- We’re replacing our light switches in the bathrooms with no touch versions. Sinks are next! This will reduce contact exposure of places demonstrated to have higher concentrations of germs in the first place.
- We purchased both a wand and a tower that emit a lower frequency ultraviolet light that’s been demonstrated to inhibit viruses like H1N1 and SARs from replicating. Even though the research is promising but not yet conclusive for COVID-19, we still felt it will increase your safety within the walls of our studio moving forward.
- Masks have been distributed to all of your trainers to start practicing with now so that we aren’t newbies when it comes time for us to don them during all of your sessions. WHO (World Health Organization) has stated plainly that the use of masks does not protect against COVID-19. That said, we as your trainers, want to do our part to reduce airborne particles being released into the air so that we can continue to provide the personal training you know us by.
- We’ve ordered a no touch digital forehead thermometer. We will be using it to take everyone’s temperature before they step into BodyBasics for a session as elevated temperature (100 -100.4) is a clear indication of fever.
- We are looking for a recipient to donate several pieces of our equipment so that we can open up the floor and create more space for you to exercise with your trainer at a safe distance from others. If you know of someone, please let me know with “Potential Donor” in the subject line back to me.
- We’re hanging cleaning kits within these socially distanced “stations” that will include a hand sanitizer, a squirt bottle of hydrogen peroxide with instructions for its application and a towel.
Some additional items that are also worth repeating are:
- Hand washing for :20 seconds will be a requirement before stepping onto the floor for your session.
- We will be limiting total number of people in the studio at any given time to 10, inclusive of staff, as our own phase 1 once given the green light to start training again.
- Virtual group as well as personal training will continue for those not comfortable returning right away to the studio. We’ve determined to keep virtual training as an additional service we provide indefinitely. A large enough number of you have shared your want to continue even when we are back to business as usual.
If you have a suggestion for how we can support your safe return, please let us know. Several of the items indicated on the list above have come directly from your suggestions already! Keep them coming please!
Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. This month’s are extra special because all of these shout outs were personally penned by your trainers. Enjoy!
- From the X-man – Shout out to Bob Plymyer and Martha Eicher for always showing up prepared and ready to put in the work. They always bring a positive energy and intensity into their training sessions that I really appreciate. It’s truly motivational as a coach to see them not only persevere during these difficult times but to actually get even stronger than they were prior to going into this pandemic. Thank you guys for always being optimistic, open-minded and working hard.
- From Kristian – Shout out to Dori Reap for continuing to set personal bests during her virtual training sessions Most recently it was split squatting 10 reps each side with 30lbs. (2 x 15lb DBs).
- From Amanda – Shout out to Stephanie Henderson for her continued creativity and input to her program design during our virtual training sessions.
- From Aaron – My shoutout goes to Michael Cummins. Michael is the definition of determination. He is determined to strengthen his lower body, walk better and without pain, and work on shoulder his health. He consistently shows up and puts in the work three times a week. He’s been practicing walking with minimal assistance from his cane. As well as putting 100% effort into each repetition. Great job Mike! I always enjoy our sessions because I know you are going to show up, work hard, and will try anything no matter the challenge if it means it will make you stronger.
- From Vadim – My shout out goes to this month’s Client Spotlight, Bob Funk. He has been such a pleasure to work with and he has progressed so much from the first session to now. It’s truly amazing to witness! He pushes himself to do more and is moving around so much better that his neighbors and wife even noticed the improvement. Great job Bob! Keep up the good work and energy!
- From Mike – I want to give a hearty shout out to Mary Jondrow. Mary and I train together 3 days per week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. I truly look forward to training her because she always has a mega-watt smile when she logs into our Zoom sessions. And her effervescent personality perks me up even more than my Deathwish coffee, and that is some high-octane coffee!! Her balance, body awareness, muscle strength, endurance and definition have improved over the weeks of working together. She even showed off the definition in her shoulders and arms the other day!!
Recipe – Russian Beet Salad with Walnuts and Garlic
This salad is a favorite of our teammate Vadim Shayevich! It’s loaded with immune boosting ingredients and it tastes amazing too!
- Beets (4 -5 Whole Raw or Canned Beets)
- Walnuts (6-8 Whole, Raw, Unsalted)
- Garlic (2-4 Cloves)
- Mayo of your choice (I used Avocado Mayo) 2-3 Tablespoons
- Prunes (4-5)
*Warning: Beets will stain everything pink so I wear gloves when handling them. If using raw beets, add unpeeled beets to a pot of water, making sure beets are fully submerged. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until beets are soft when pierced with a fork. This will take about 60-90 minutes. Make it easy: Use canned whole beets.
In a large bowl combine grated beets with minced garlic, walnuts, prunes, and mayo of your choice.
Mix together and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve cold. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts: Russian Beet Salad with Walnuts and Garlic
Calories 117 Fat 7g Cholesterol 1mg Potassium 208mg Carbohydrates 12g Fiber 2g Sugar 7g Protein 1g Vitamin A 115IU Vitamin C 1.2mg Calcium 17mg Iron 0.5mg
Basic Moves by BodyBasics – First “Step” to Weight Loss
Listen in to this video from the past! It’s short, to the point and easy to implement
Chris, Kris, Kristian, Amanda, Dustin, Xavier, Aaron, Mike and Vadim