Exercise Can Help and Hurt Your Body's Defenses ?

Exercise Can Help and Hurt Your Body's Defenses ?

While many scientists agree that exercise has a positive effect on the body's ability to resist diseases, few are certain of the nature of the relationship. All of the variables associated with exercise and the immune system make research design difficult and conclusive evidence rare. Among the pieces of the puzzle independent researchers have noted to date:

  • Too little and too much exercise may increase the risk of catching a cold.

  • Moderate exercise has the potential to ward off a cold

  • The number of immune cells increases with exercise, but could be a reaction for repairing exercise damaged muscle tears rather than fighting infections.

  • Acute responses of the immune system to exercise depend on the intensity and duration of exercise relative to the person's fitness level.

  • Exercising pursued to the level of producing muscle damage can further impair an immune system already weakened by acute infections, HIV infection and other conditions.

  • Too Much exercise stimulates the production of free radicals, which may impair the immune system.

  • Cycling hundreds of miles a week may lead to impaired immunity.

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