BBJ Fitness Corner | Exercise and the immune system

Health Matters
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AMID the global Covid-19 outbreak, many individuals who are into fitness training have to practice social distancing by staying home. They still want to work out, of course.

Bikers Rex Kosack and Sean Frink enjoy the view at Gov. Eloy S. Inos Peace Park on their way to Marpi.
Coach Mike Mercado’s “mobile gym” helps him maintain his desired fitness level.  Contributed photos

As we should know by now, exercise and proper nutrition can enhance our immune system. But Gold’s Gym personal trainer Jerry Diaz said there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What can work for one person may not work for another due to many factors that include health level, financial status, access to information, and daily habits.

But “daily and regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living,” Diaz said. “It promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases.”

He said it is also important that we avoid smoking, drink alcohol in moderation, sleep 6-8 hours regularly, practice proper hygiene, and apply breathing techniques to minimize stress.

Good health boosts our immune system, Diaz said.

But research also indicates that intense exercise can weaken the immune system. For example, more than 90 minutes of high-intensity endurance exercise can make athletes vulnerable to illness for up to 72 hours after the exercise session.

This is important information for athletes who compete or train for long periods. They should set aside enough days for recovery.

It is also important to point out that as individuals grow older, their immune system begins to slow down. This increases an individual’s risk of getting sick. Hence, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to be up-to-date on flu shots or other vaccines.

Individuals who want to enhance their immune system must consider a lifestyle approach that will benefit the mind, body and spirit. Such a balanced approach will improve our chance to protect ourselves from the current virus crisis as well as other diseases.


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