How exercise affects your immune system.

Health benefits of exercise for the immune system:

1. Heightened immune surveillance. 

On the internal part of your body you have a barrier, it is all the internal skin. Think of your intestines. The size of that surface area would be about four hundred square meters, the size of two tennis courts. You have immune cells, called phagocytes, that are guards that do surveillance. They are constantly looking for invaders pathogens to actually come across the barrier to attack them and eat them. Exercise will enhance your phagocyte protection and your defense mechanism.

2. Increased lymph circulation. 

What is the lymphatic system?  Well, you have a circulatory system where blood is traveling through your arteries and then it goes down into these small little capillaries where the blood then can cross into your tissues and it forms lymph. The lymph system is like your backup system to the circulatory system.  Then the blood goes all through the body, through your lymph system, where then it dumps back into the circulatory system. Your lymph system is a backup to your circulatory system as well as a place to consolidate immune reactions to keep the immune reactions out of certain organs and tissues in a place where your immune system can then fight it more effectively. The problem with the lymph system is it does not have a pump. Exercise will increase the lymph flow through your body.

3. Delays the negative effect of aging on the immune system. 

The more exercise you do the younger you are going to be because as you age your immune system gets weaker and weaker and weaker. In fact the thymus gland, which is on top of the heart, which does all the training for the t-cells literally shrinks down to nothing when you become 80 years old number.

4. Enhances immune defense mechanisms. 

Exercise can enhance how fast your immune system responds to infection.

5. Lowers mental stress. 

Exercise can reduce mental stress and mental stress, which probably has the biggest influence on weakening your immune system making you more susceptible to getting an infection. When you do exercise in the correct way you can really lower the stress.


The trick is to exercise in a way that will not activate too much cortisol. To do that, it’s best to make sure you do not over train and that you get enough sleep. The healthier you are, and the more recovery you have, the less you have to worry about activating too much cortisol. 

Certain people may be able to do marathons and not have it phase their immune system. But, people who have higher levels of cortisol could get sick when they try to exercise. For most people, doing regular and consistent exercise is extremely beneficial for the immune system.

For more information on overtraining please see this post. Symptoms Of Overtraining

This Post has been condensed from Dr. Berg’s video, How exercise affects your immune system.

Dr. Berg is a chiropractor who specializes in Healthy Ketosis & Intermittent Fasting. He is the author of the best-selling book The Healthy Keto Plan, and is the Director of Dr. Berg Nutritionals. He no longer practices, but focuses on health education through social media. He has taught students nutrition as an adjunct professor at Howard University.

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