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What Does Exercising Do To Your Immune System? (Scientific Perspective)
Have you ever wondered what exercises can do to your immune system? Well, I have, and here is what I've discovered:
Frequent exercise greatly enhances the immune system. First, you'll have heightened immune surveillance. What does that mean? On the internal part of your body, you have a barrier (the internal skin). The size of that surface area is approximately 400 square meters, the size of two tennis courts. Phagocytes (cells) that are guarding and surveilling are constantly looking for invaders (pathogens) to come across the barrier, to attack them, and eat them. So, exercise will enhance your phagocyte protection and your defense mechanism.
Second, it will increase lymph circulation. The lymphatic system is like a backup system (to the 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). Since the lymph system doesn't have a pump, exercise will increase the lymph flow through the body.
Third, exercise delays the negative effects of aging on the immune system. So, the more exercise you do, the "younger" you'll be. Aging weakens and shrinks the immune system. The thymus gland which does all the training for T-cells literally shrinks down to nothing when you reach the age of 80.
Fourth; exercising can enhance the immune defense mechanisms as well as how fast the immune system responds to infection.
Fifth, and most important, exercise reduces mental stress, which is the most destructive opponent of the immune system. Your immune system can technically withstand everything, except stress. Mental stress has the biggest influence on weakening the immune system and making a person more susceptible to getting an infection.
Warning: train in a way that doesn't activate too much cortisol (because it suppresses the immune system). To do that, just make sure you get enough sleep and don't overtrain.