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Fitness and the Compromised Immune System

By HERWriter
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Fitness related image Photo: Getty Images

When do the concepts of fitness and exercise not automatically go together? When you're dealing with a compromised immune system.

A Special Health Report from Harvard Health Publications advocated moderate exercise for maintenance of a healthy immune system.

But the article went on to report that Professor David Nieman, Dr. PH., of Appalachian State University would balance this with the caution that too much exercise can decrease immune function.

Overdoing exercise can produce more of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol which can increase cholesterol levels and blood pressure and weaken the immune system. This information was published in a February 21, 2011 article on Betterhealthjournal.com.

Nieman was specifically talking about athletes, but the individual with an already weakened or compromised immune system could be in real trouble.

According to Sportsmedicine.about.com, moderate exercise can mean fewer colds and flu. The immune system responds positively to this state of affairs as macrophages which attack toxins flourish.

Immune cells are more efficient in eliminating viruses and bacteria. This boost generally only lasts a few hours but when moderate exercise is done regularly, an overall increase in well-being can occur.

But too much of a good thing can really be too much and can lead to negative repercussions. Time to rest and recover is essential for the overtaxed immune system.

Athletes who overtrain can be more vulnerable to illness and a weakened immune system. The person who is ill, who has a chronic health condition with reduced immune function must be very careful.

If you have a weakened immune system, it may still be possible to incorporate some activity into your day. Just be sure to let your body and its responses be your guide.

Learning-tai-chi.info refers to the website WebMD, saying that when we manage stress effectively, our immune systems benefit. Tai chi targets the parasympathetic nervous system which triggers rest and regeneration.

The Free Dictionary website endorses tai chi because it enhances the cardiovascular and immune systems. Done on a regular basis, muscle tone and flexibility are increased.

Balance and coordination improve. Tai chi is often recommended as a healing regimen for those with a compromised immune system.

Yoga can be beneficial even when done for just a few minutes daily. The parasympathetic nervous system kicks in which benefits the immune system.

Walking can enhance the immune system, as well as the cardiovascular system and blood flow, according to Ehow.com. A half hour walk five days a week is desirable.

If this is too much, more frequent short walks are equally effective. And of course, if this is just too much activity, respect your body's wisdom.

Dr. Rick Kellerman of the American Academy of Family Physicians has encouraged low levels of exercise to increase the output of endorphins. Avoid the temptation to exercise too strenuously since it's possible to overstimulate endorphin production and actually stress the immune system.


Improve Your Immune System With Exercise?

Exercise and Immunity

Strengthening the Immune System With Tai Chi

Tai Chi

Exercise Guidelines to Improve the Immune System

Reviewed July 13, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton

Visit Jody's website and blog at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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