The arrival of winter means cozy nights by the fireplace, building snowmen in the front yard, and holiday cheer. There are so many things to look forward to!
But with winter also comes the arrival of cold and flu season. And who would want to ruin the wonder of winter by getting sick?
To enjoy this winter to its fullest, it’s important to be rest assured knowing you and your family will be happy and healthy.
That means making a little extra effort in keeping your family’s immune systems strong so they can fight off any nasty germs you might encounter. And with the pandemic still happening, you can use all the help you can get to ease your mind.
While healthy foods and certain supplements can aide you in this process, there’s one method of boosting your immune system that you might be overlooking…staying active!
You already know regular exercise can help you lose weight and stay strong. But did you know it could also be the key to preventing common illnesses?
Read on to learn how staying active can help strengthen you and your family’s immune system and fight off the threat of COVID, the flu, and more.
How Your Immune System Works
Before diving in to ways to keep your immune system healthy, it’s good to have a general idea of how it works.
The job of your immune system is to determine the difference between your body’s cells used for everyday functions and dangerous intruders like viruses, toxins, and foreign chemicals.
When the white blood cells in your immune system recognize one of these harmful antigens, they work to destroy them.
Having a strong immune system means it’s better at recognizing and ridding your body of harmful things that can make you sick, or even cause diseases like cancer.
Exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day helps your immune system work better for you and your family. So that family dance party you have now and then might be paying off in more ways than one!
How Exercise Strengthens the Immune System
Exercise is helpful for so many things…strength building, mental health, breathing, the list goes on! Basically every bodily function is optimized thanks to movement — especially your immune system.
When you’re active, you keep things flowing. Your blood and air move more freely, helping your body clean itself out. Here’s more on why exercise helps your immunity.
Exercise Improves Circulation
For your antibodies to work well and seek out germs, they need to move freely through your body. To keep everything moving properly, your body needs to have good circulation.
Exercise is a great way to improve your circulation. It strengthens your heart and blood vessels, and helps your white blood cells catch any potential illness as quickly as possible.
Exercise Reduces Stress
When you’re stressed, it takes a toll on your body. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is part of what creates the “fight or flight” instinct when you’re feeling stressed. It’s meant to help keep you alert and prepared to address threats.
When stress sticks around, however, cortisol can cause some problems.
Too much cortisol disrupts bodily processes. It can raise your blood pressure, interfere with your digestion, and suppress your immune system by killing off white blood cells.
Exercise Helps the Respiratory System
Healthy lungs are an important part of your immune system. They’re lined with cells, hairs, and mucus that help trap and expel bad bacteria, dust, and other things with the potential to make you sick.
Exercise helps your respiratory system function more smoothly. It increases your heart rate, which helps you get more oxygen.
More oxygen makes it easier for your body to remove carbon dioxide from the blood. Too much carbon dioxide in the blood causes headaches, dizziness and fatigue.
Immune Boosting Exercises
While all physical activity can help your whole body function better, some are especially handy for helping your immune system keep you safe from illness.
Some activities can be too strenuous and weaken the immune system, others simply focus on strength training which helps improve circulation and oxygen levels.
Here are just a few:
Your muscles help store important white blood cells that can help prevent and fight infection. When your muscles are strong and healthy, they store armies of these cells to replace the ones already fighting bad bacteria.
This helps ensure your immune system keeps going even after it’s facing fatigue.
Gymnastics focuses on strength and stamina, and stronger muscles can help fight illness by providing extra protection.
Studies show that with some fresh air and a little sunlight, moving around outside can help significantly decrease levels of illness-causing stress.
Taking your activity outdoors helps you get all the benefits of exercise plus the stress relief of the great outdoors, helping your immune system in more ways than one.
While some exercise is good for the body, too much can actually suppress your immune system.
Strenuous aerobic exercise for more than 20 minutes a day can be translated as stress to your immune system, leaving it exhausted by the time you’re finished.
Try exercise programs like PACE that ensures you reach the most intense part of your workout in less time, so you work out just long enough to build your immune system — but not long enough to suppress it.
Learn More Activities from Home with Virtual Learning
Sometimes, you and your kids need a little help sticking to an exercise routine — especially after being cooped up at home.
Next time you hit a slump, try out our gymnastics, dance, or NinjaZone classes on demand!
Each class is on your time and at your pace, so you and your kids can enjoy every perk of fitness training. Whether your kids choose gymnastics, NinjaZone, or dance, they’re guaranteed to be headed toward a healthier lifestyle.
You’ll do special immune-boosting exercises and build upon skills you can use in your everyday life, like strength and balance.