Building Your Immune System for Back to School – Exercise


There is a constant battle between viruses, bacteria, parasites, cancer cells and our Antibodies.  The goal of these articles on Immune Health is to give you the tools to build your antibody army in number and efficiency.


Part 4/4 on Building the Immune System for Back to School – Exercise.

Additional links about building the immune system:

What is Exercise? – Goal 60 min of activity


  1. 30 minute walk, (walk your kids to school).
  2. 30 minute bike, (bike with the kids to school)
  3. few laps in the pool,
  4. taking stairs instead of the elevator,
  5. parking further away from stores where there are tons of parking spots,


  1. getting up an moving every 50 min for 5-10 min if you have a desk job,
  2. yoga,
  3. pilates,
  4. running in the park with kids,
  5. stand up desks,
  6. it all counts and it all adds up. you do not need to do 60min of consecutive activity in a day, it can be split up in parts.


How does it work??

Several studies have now shown that moderate exercise (30-60min duration) reduces the risk of infections and cancer.  In fact, those who moderately exercise 3-4times a week have 50% less sick days then those who do nothing and are sedentary.


– In people who exercise, the heart pumps more efficiently, thus antibodies and white blood cells circulate more rapidly.

– With exercise, the core body temperature rises, and this kills/reduces the number of viruses/bacteria circulating in the body (kind of like fever)

– Exercise decrease stress hormone levels .  Elevated hormone levels, such as cortisol, are directly linked with more colds, viruses, and even cancer. (Think final exams, huge presentations, managing small children all day, tackling teen problems and their freedom boundaries, etc)

  • The recommended time for physical activity is 60min, however studies have shown benefits from just 30min of activity in adults.

+++ Studies from University of Massachusets

– Moderate exercise increase the number of white blood cells and enhances their killing abilities

••• Studies from Harvard:

– Stress increases cortisol which is a hormone derived from the adrenal gland. People with higher cortisol levels have lower immune function.

– People under stress have lower levels of circulating antibodies which puts them at risk for catching colds and flu

+++  Studies from UNC-CH:

– moderate exercise shows reduction in breast cancer in post menopausal women.  Also, maintaining a normal body weight reduces the risk of cancer in post menopausal women.

***  Studies on rheumatoid arthritis

– studies have shown that moderate exercise can decrease joint inflammation in 35% of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.  It also reduces the rate of joint destruction seen on X-rays.


How to get started :

Step 1 – make it a priority for you.

Step 2 – Turn the TV off, pause Netflix, put Facebook on hold, turn off your phone and iPad.


In Good Health, Ana-Maria Temple, MD

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