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Another Reason to Exercise: Boost Your Immune System

We're nearing the end of flu season and heading into allergy season, but that doesn't mean we should get complacent about fighting off illness. Since I am always looking for new reasons to exercise and new ways to avoid getting sick, I was excited to find this research suggesting that consistent exercise can boost your immune system.

Moderate exercise temporarily increases your body's production of macrophages, the cells designed to fend off bacteria, and allows them to travel more efficiently through the body. Though these are temporary responses to working out, new research suggests that the more often you exercise, the more permanent the health benefits become. According to Dr. David Nieman of Appalachian State University, moderate exercise on a regular basis also strengthens your immune system in the long run.

But for super-serious athletes like marathoners, exercise can actually make the body more susceptible to illness, so be sure to give yourself plenty of recovery days if you're training for a big event.

Do you exercise daily? If so, do you think it helps you avoid getting sick?

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Spectra Spectra 7 years
I definitely believe it. I work out just about every day and I haven't been sick since 2001, which is when I started working out. I'm pretty sure it's not just a coincidence. Then again, I also eat a pretty healthy diet that's rich in antioxidants and other good stuff. I'm sure that probably helps a bit.
buffyanne buffyanne 7 years
I believe it! I had a houseful of sickies and didn't catch a thing: My DH got the flu a couple of weeks ago and was terribly sick and feverish for over a week. I had family visiting and they all had something going, two with fever. I have been working out 5-6 days a week and I didn't even get a sniffle. I was definitely in contact with everyone, especially DH. I think exercise is the thing that saved me.
buffyanne buffyanne 7 years
I believe it! I had a houseful of sickies and didn't catch a thing:My DH got the flu a couple of weeks ago and was terribly sick and feverish for over a week. I had family visiting and they all had something going, two with fever. I have been working out 5-6 days a week and I didn't even get a sniffle. I was definitely in contact with everyone, especially DH. I think exercise is the thing that saved me.
pureperfection pureperfection 7 years
I was down with the cold 2 days ago!!!
cvandoorn cvandoorn 7 years
Hmm...when I started working out every day, I got sick twice...each illness lasted a week. But now I feel much better and healthier. So I guess it takes a while to kick in.
AMP AMP 7 years
I've been working out for about 2 1/2 years now and I've only been sick once in that whole time. So yes, I definitely believe and experience this.
jenehfur jenehfur 7 years
i used to be sick all winter/fall long. seriously, i swear i would be sick for weeks and weeks, well for 1 week, and then sick again. everyone told me it was cuz i wasn't taking good enough care of myself and i was like yeayeayea. so i took more vitamins but that didn't help too much. this year, i have yet to be sick ONCE, which is truely AMAZING if you know me. (knock on wood). the change is i am definitely eating a lot healthier, eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. getting a considerable amount of more sleep each night. and exercising a lot more. seriously, all these things have worked wonders for me and i could not be happier, feeling like crap and missing work and everything else that comes along with getting sick truely sucks!!
rpenner rpenner 7 years
i find this mostly to be true. but i do still get sick like once a year.
Baby-Girl Baby-Girl 7 years
I agree. I find that when I'm physically active I don't get sick, or my body fights illness off better.
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
This is so true!!
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
This is so true!!
duffster1979 duffster1979 7 years
I have been working out on a daily basis for years and I literally only get one cold per year. And it only lasts a few days.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
i do work out at least 1x per day - and i don't know if it really helps my immune system or not. i feel like i'm sick a lot - and i'm not sure if i'd be sick even more frquently if i didn't work out. right now for example i feel like i'm getting a cold/sinus infection AGAIN and i've been working out just as much as before. i like the thought though that it's a good thing. just another reason for me to continue to work out so much.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
i do work out at least 1x per day - and i don't know if it really helps my immune system or not. i feel like i'm sick a lot - and i'm not sure if i'd be sick even more frquently if i didn't work out. right now for example i feel like i'm getting a cold/sinus infection AGAIN and i've been working out just as much as before. i like the thought though that it's a good thing. just another reason for me to continue to work out so much.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 7 years
I've heard this before.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 7 years
I've heard this before.
imLissy imLissy 7 years
Well, I did get sick once after I started working out every day, but my boyfriend was sick, so I think that was kinda inevitable. I haven't gotten sick since, but neither has anyone else that I know, lol. So, I dunno...
Sarah10563 Sarah10563 7 years
I definitely agree with these findings, ever since I got into a constant exercise regime where I'm working out 5-6 days a week and active even on my rest days I found that I haven't caught a cold or felt under the weather at all! I used to get sick all the time in high school when it was the off season from sports and a lot during freshman year of college. Exercise and a healthy diet are a wonder drug!
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