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Boost Your Immune System With Exercise

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By Karen Ireton

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) being a hot topic right now, many people are looking for ways to boost their immune system. One simple and effective way is exercise! Exercise is an integral component of a healthy lifestyle, along with eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting an adequate amount of sleep.

Harvard Health calls exercise “one of the pillars of healthy living,” and their list of healthy habits to boost immunity includes exercise and maintaining a healthy weight as key methods. They also recommend a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

Citing this study published in Aging Cell, Mapmyrun decrees “Exercise doesn’t just help you live longer, it helps you live better — and the benefits extend further than you might think.” They spoke to Dr. Janet Lord, the Director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham, who noted the participants, who were between the ages of 55-79, “… had the same amount of new immune cells as a 20-year-old…”

In Prevent the Flu: Boost Your Immune System, WebMD cites exercise, along with stress reduction and getting enough sleep as effective ways to strengthen your immune system, stating, “Exercise also helps your immune system perform at a high level.” They also recommend “frequent hand washing to keep germs at bay.”

Community partner Dr. Franklin Zimmerman recently gave a free presentation at the Club to discuss the health benefits of exercise. In addition to boosting the immune system, it has been shown to help treat chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He also notes it is important to consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, the help find the right “exercise prescription” for you. Dr. Zimmerman also takes his own advice, leading by example. He is an avid exerciser, and can often be found working out at Club Fit Briarcliff. He firmly believes that “Exercise is medicine,” and is fond of telling his patients, “You only have to exercise on the days when you eat.”

When NOT to exercise? If you are feeling ill, or suspect you may be coming down with a bug, stay home and rest. Do some light stretches at home, or maybe take a walk around the block, but avoid going to the gym and other public places when you might be contagious. CDC’s guidelines for dealing with the flu and COVID-19 recommend staying home both to aid recovery and to avoid potentially infecting others.

Once you are feeling better, it may take a few days to get back to your usual level of activity. Start slowly, and don’t push yourself. If you are looking for some low-key versions of your favorite workouts, talk to one of our Fit Coaches. They will be happy to offer recommendations!

– Karen Ireton is Club Fit’s Marketing Content Creator

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