We all know that exercise is good for us. It helps us manage stress, regulate hormones, and burn excess calories. In moderation, it even promotes healthy immunity. So, what is the problem with exercise? Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

When it comes to immunity, studies show that types and amounts of exercise may undermine the immune system and overall wellness.  In this brief article, we will explore what happens when or exercises the wrong way or even too much. Most importantly, we discuss how to use exercise to support super immunity and overall wellness.

What Is Too Much Exercise?

If you are amongst the elite and seasoned endurance athletes, this article does not apply to you. By now you have figured out how to modulate between periods of high-intensity performance and recovery. You have also likely work your way up to peak performance gradually in a reasonable period. For the rest of us, it is important to understand the need for a balanced approach to exercise.

At the beginning of every year, thousands of people flocked to their local fitness club in pursuit of a leaner healthier body. Within a few days, sports injuries, flu symptoms, feelings of fatigue, aches, and pains skyrocket as beginners overdo it. So, what’s the problem and how do we fix it?

Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted standard for too much exercise. Likewise, the verdict is still out regarding the perfect type of exercise for each individual. Nonetheless, the research has provided some clear guidelines. For example, we know for certain that daily movement in the form of moderate exercise is essential for good health. Simply put our bodies are designed to move. The minimum recommendation according to most studies is around 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. The recommended amount of high-intensity exercises is about 75 minutes per week – approximately half of the total.

As you consider the above guidelines, it is important to understand that there is no one size fits all approach to exercise. For instance, gender, age, health status, and level conditioning will determine your optimal routine. I recommend seeking the advice of both a medical professional and a qualified fitness coach. As you progress in your routine here are some signs that could indicate you are overdoing it:

  • More frequent injuries
  • Swelling (other signs of inflammation)
  • Abnormal feelings of stress
  • Frequent colds
  • Longer recovery periods
  • Decline in performance
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Mental and physical exhaustion
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Unhealthy Weight loss

If you experience any of these, it is a good idea to consult with a medical professional. Besides undermining your immune system you may be other serious damage to your body.[1]

Questionable Approaches to Exercise?

Calisthenics (like push-ups), walking, swimming, and moderate weight lifting are all excellent forms of exercise to consider. Unless you are an experienced and well-conditioned athlete you should also avoid the following:

  • Extremely demanding exercises like marathons, long hours of cycling, or heavy weightlifting
  • Any exercise that requires more than 2 hours a day.
  • Extreme stretches that may be dangerous to the spine and other delicate structures. [2]

If you would like to build up to more advanced levels of conditioning it is best to follow this two-step process: 1) consult with your physician to ensure that you are physically up to the challenge, 2) enlists the help of a certified expert in your area of interest.

What Is The Perfect Type Of Exercise To Boost Immune Function?

When it comes to developing a healthy immune system, the research consistently demonstrates that around 30 minutes of daily moderate exercise is beneficial for most people. There are different theories as to why this works. One school of thought believes that exercise causes structural changes in the shape of antibodies and white blood cells, which helps to boost your immunity.

Another school of thought says the benefits are due to the persistent reduction in stress hormones experienced after exercise. Most of the research encourages either low-intensity exercises or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for relatively fit people. No matter which exercise you choose, keep the following precautions in my:

  • If you are elderly, pregnant, had recent surgery, have bronchial asthma, or some other medical condition, consult your doctor on the best exercises for you.
  • Do not work out until you are exhausted.
  • Always stay hydrated.

Bottom Line

Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your health and supercharge your immune system. However, when we unintentionally overdo it we can trigger a stress response and inflammation of tissues that undermine our health and immunity. [3]

Also, choosing the wrong types of exercise (advanced or high-intensity) can be dangerous. Your immunity may suffer causing, you to be more susceptible to illnesses.

Most experts agree: 1) that optimum duration of exercise is around 150 minutes a week or around 30 minutes per day and 2) best exercises are moderate low-intensity ones.

What Do You Think?

Where are you on the exercises spectrum; too much, too little, or just enough?

Sources

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5153114/

[2] https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/904179

[3] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm

 

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