Several studies have linked physical activity to improvements in immune health. An extensive review published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science outlined how physical activity and exercise benefit immune system health and function. The authors conducted an extensive review of available evidence on the short- and long-term effects of exercise on the immune system, clinical benefits related to the link between exercise and immune health, the influence of nutrition on the immune response to exercise, and the effect of exercise on immune system aging.
The results found that acute bouts of exercise—less than 60 minutes—enhanced the circulation of immunoglobulins, natural killer (NK) cells, T cells, and other immune cells that play critical roles in the body’s defense against pathogens, and can help reduce inflammation.
An analysis of randomized controlled trials conducted as part of the review also found that people assigned to long-term moderate exercise programs—ranging eight weeks to one year—saw lower incidence and duration of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), with reductions as high as 40-50% among people who were active daily. A similar analysis of results from long term population studies found a 28% reduction in URTI in groups with higher levels of physical activity and fitness.
Join Team Active in getting exercise each day this week. Boost your circulation and create natural killer T cells!