Exercise & Your Immune System

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       Not that we need another curve to discuss right now #flattenthecurve, but hear me out. As we have discussed for many years at Back to Function, exercise is a main component to keeping your immune system functioning at its highest capacity. We get a lot of questions from our clients about type of exercise, amount of time, and intensity level. While any type of movement above your normal daily routine will bring about benefits, here’s some food for thought. Living a sedentary life is not beneficial to you, your heart, your brain, your immune system, and the list goes on and on.  Some movement is better than none whether that be a walk around your neighborhood (at least 6 ft away from others), or a training session at Back to Function.  

       What is moderate intensity/duration exercise? Your breathing quickens, but you’re not out of breath. You develop a light sweat after about 10 minutes of the exercise. You can carry on a conversation, but you can’t sing.  Moderate exercise or moderate amount (~45 minutes) can yield great immunity boosting benefits. In fact, moderate intensity/duration exercise not only decreases your risk of infection during the exercise, it also has post-exercise effects to maintain strong immunity.  

       What is high intensity/duration exercise? Your breathing is deep and rapid. You develop a sweat after only a few minutes of activity. You can’t say more than a few words without pausing for breath. Or exercise at a low-moderate intensity that lasts for 1+ hours. As seen on the image, high intensity/duration can increase your susceptibility to infection. Here is where you need to read the fine print! Research has shown the level of susceptibility is highest during the actual activity. So, should we avoid high intensity or long duration exercise. Absolutely not! The benefits of high intensity exercise: cardiac health, decrease in triglycerides and HbA1c and an increase in HDL just to name a few. Research has also shown that time after the high intensity exercise is where we see benefits to the immune system which is key for those individuals who enjoy a good High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercise program.  

Take home notes:  

  • Exercise is a key component to healthy immunity. 
  • Moderate intensity/duration exercise can have benefits to the immune system both during and after the activity. 
  • High intensity/duration exercise can have benefits to the immune system after the activity is completed. 
  • When engaging in high intensity/duration exercise, be vigilant with proper cleanliness and sanitation. Wash your hands and sanitize the equipment before and after usage. This is great for all levels of exercise! 
  • Call us at 310-534-1900 or email info@backtofunction.com if you have questions or to set up an appointment to train you and your immune system. 

Kraemer, Fleck, Deschenes. Exercise Physiology: Integrating Theory and Application. Second edition. ISBN-13: 978-1451193190 


Dr. Shelby Kloiber
About Dr. Shelby Kloiber

Dr. Shelby Kloiber is a Master's of Science, Exercise Physiology 2011 graduate from Texas Tech University. In 2009 she became a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise and in 2014 became a Certified Exercise Physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She was faculty at Texas Tech University in the Health, Exercise & Sport Sciences department until she entered the Doctor of Chiropractic program at Southern California University of Health Sciences. She currently practices in Fort Worth Texas.