Regular gentle exercise will keep you healthy and prevent you from contracting certain diseases. More and more, we read about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle as it affects our health. Making sure to move around, especially during the winter months is an easy way to avoid illness and detoxify your body. The main player here is our circulatory systems. The antibodies and white blood cells in our blood streams as well as lymph fluid in our lymphatic systems get flushed through our bodies by exercise, which is instrumental in fighting disease and keeping us healthy.
Get the blood flowing
When you exercise, in effect, you send your disease-fighting white blood cells through your system more rapidly. Those cells are capable of killing both viruses and bacteria. It’s estimated that just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can sweep white blood cells that are stuck on blood vessel walls, back into circulation. This means that at the time of exercising and right afterward, these disease fighting cells are traveling throughout your system, finding infection sooner.
Aerobic exercise can help clear bacteria from your respiratory system too. Exercise has been shown to increase the production of macrophages, which are cells that attack winter colds. Getting ‘out of breathe’ helps to flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, and the increase in body temperature can help stop bacteria from growing during and after your workout.
Yoga asanas and breathing techniques are also valuable for clearing toxins from your respiratory system. By conditioning your lungs, yoga can improve the strength of your immune system, avoiding colds and more serious infections like bronchitis and pneumonia. Next time you practice chest opening yoga poses, like half moon, cobra or bow, breathe deeply and detox your chest.
Your lymphatic system is critical to detoxing your body and boosting immunity. Similar to antibodies in your blood stream, your lymph vessels deliver lymph fluid through your system, flushing out toxins and dead cells and carrying disease fighting white blood cells.
It’s important to remember that lymphatic circulation only occurs secondary to muscle contractions in your body. Any exercise, from running to yoga, boosts the circulation of lymph fluid. The more you move, the more your lymphatic system flows. The most effective way to boost your lymphatic circulation, interestingly, is rebounding. Jumping on a small trampoline creates a G force resistance on every cell in your body. Rebounding can increase your lymph circulation by up to 30 times. So, get bouncing to get better!
So, keep fit to keep well. One thing to note with exercise for the purposes of immunity is that moderation is key. Overexerting your body can suppress your immune system and leave you vulnerable to colds and flus. ‘Too far’ is relative to your fitness level, so listen to your body. You are your own best judge.
About Isabelle Ahearne
Isabelle Ahearne is on The Path Editorial Team. In addition to reading her articles on The Path, you can follow her adventures on Facebook.