What’s your immune system and how does exercise help it?
The immune system is a collection of millions of white blood cells made within the bone marrow that protect us from environmental threats like bacteria, viruses and fungi. When we exercise, it increases the production of many different types of white blood cells, one of which is known as macrophage, DeYoung explains. Macrophages help scoop up and destroy harmful bacteria and viruses as they travel through the body.
This is especially important during times of stress, which without exercise, can lead to a weakened immune system.
“When the fight or flight mechanism is left on in our bodies for too long and these chronic stress hormones are floating around, it reduces the amount of immune cells that are circulating. So it’s really important that we use exercise to manage our stress,” DeYoung says.