At this time of year, illness is rife, and we're not just talking about Coronavirus, but the common cold! How is your immune system doing? I’m very rarely ill- my immune system seems to be working fantastically well- I’ve put together some research and ideas here as to why that may be…….
The following factors have all been associated with impaired immune function and increased risk of catching colds:
Fatigue and lack of sleep
Whilst some of these can be changed easily, others such as age cannot! So give yourself a boost-Regular Moderate Exercise Boosts Immunity!
There are some things that seem to protect us from catching colds and the flu. One of those things appears to be moderate, consistent exercise. Research continues to support a link between this and a healthy immune system. Moderate exercise has been linked to a positive immune system response and a temporary boost in the production of antibodies, the cells that attack bacteria. It is believed that regular, consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune system health over the long-term too.
During moderate exercise immune cells circulate through the body more quickly and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. After exercise ends, the immune system generally returns to normal within a few hours, but consistent, regular exercise seems to make these changes a bit more long-lasting.
According to Professor David Nieman, Dr. PH., of Appalachian State University, when moderate exercise is repeated on a near-daily basis there is a cumulative effect that leads to a long-term immune response. According to his book, "Nutrition and Exercise Immunology," exercise increases antibody production by 300%, and increases the number of infection-killing T-cells circulating in the body. Once these antibodies form, they hang around in your body, ready to be called upon in case of further germ invasion.
But beware-Too Much Exercise May Decrease Immunity-more than 90 minutes of high-intensity endurance exercise can make athletes susceptible to illness for up to 72 hours after the exercise session. This is important information for those of you who compete in longer events such as marathons or triathlons. Cortisol and adrenaline, known as the stress hormones, raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels and suppress the immune system. This effect has been linked to the increased susceptibility to infection in endurance athletes after extreme exercise (such as marathon running or Ironman-distance triathlon training).
If you are already ill, you should be careful about exercising too intensely. Your immune system is already taxed by fighting your infection, and additional stress could undermine your recovery.
In general, if you have mild cold symptoms and no fever (or symptoms of COVID-19), light or moderate exercise may help you feel a bit better and actually boost your immune system. Work it off!
Intense exercise will only make things worse and likely extend your illness.
So Reformer or Mat Pilates could give you that gentle boost you need to stay on top of things and ward off those bugs- could explain why I seldom catch a cold!