The Exercise-Immunity Connection
Health and fitness expert Eric Olsen discusses how exercise impacts immunity.
Q: Does exercise boost your immunity?
A: Moderate exercise such as brisk walking is linked to an increase in the number of T-cells—which form part of the body’s immune system—circulating in the blood. Exercise raises body temperature, which may also help kill some types of viruses or bacteria. Fitness is also associated with habits that promote overall good health, including good nutrition and a tendency to get adequate sleep, which may aid in the body’s fight against infection. However, overtraining by doing high-intensity exercise of long duration may actually lower T-cell count, suppressing the immune system and leading to an increased risk of infection.