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Home / Articles / Columnists / Fitness by Larisa /  Exercise and Immunity
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Friday, May 5,2017

Exercise and Immunity

By Larisa Klein  

The immune system protects the body from viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, cancer, etc. Simply put, it removes foreign cells from the body. It consists of capillaries, vessels, nodes, and fluid. Lymphatic fluid is carried through the capillaries to the lymph nodes, the small organs of this system.


The nodes are scattered throughout the body, but many are bundled in the armpit, groin, and stomach areas. Additional lymphatic nodules include the tonsils, Peyer’s patches (in the small intestine), spleen, and thymus. The nodes are made of fibrous tissues and are highly concentrated in cells that destroy pathogens, cleaning the lymph fluid before returning it to the vascular system as plasma.

Immune system suppressors include airplane travel, allergies, chemicals in the diet and environment, chemotherapy, recreational drugs, therapeutic drugs (cortisone, steroids, anti-inflammatory), smoking, emotional extremes, poor diet, lack of sleep, and physical and emotional stress. Boosters include vitamin C (considered as the most important of the antioxidant nutrients by some), vitamins A and E, and herbs such as garlic. These are best obtained from foods rather than pills. Vegetable juices are an excellent way to obtain these immune boosting nutrients.

But where does exercise come in? While the cardiovascular system comes with its own pump, the heart, the immune system does not. Muscle contraction moves lymph fluid. As they contract, lymph vessels compress, and this moves the lymph.

Skeletal muscle moves lymph throughout the limbs and deep inhalation moves lymph into the thorax.

Nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle can improve the quality of our immune system. But exercise and powerful breathing moves this lymph throughout the body, through its nodes, so that foreign cells that are picked up get cleaned out faster and have less time to cause their damage.

This effect is seen in people who exercise moderately and consistently. These effects are strongest right after exercise, but near daily exercise has been shown to have a cumulative effect. However, overtraining (intense exercise for over 90 minutes) has been shown to lower immunity by producing hormones which temporarily lower immunity and make one more likely to get sick after such sessions.

So for the average person, consistent (almost daily) and moderate exercise is best. For the endurance athlete, recovery is very important, especially before a race.

Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Elson Haas, MD •

Larisa Klein • Wellness Achieved Studios • 3000 E Commercial Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. 33308 • • 954-600-9828 Larisa has been trainingin Yoga, Pilates, and functional weight training for 20 years since. 1997. She has extensive experience working with cancer survivors, people with various physical special conditions (joint/spinal injuries/operations/replacements/MS/etc.), internal special conditions (schizophrenia, drug/alcohol addictions) as well as triatheletes and Olympians. She is a black belt with full competition experience, a current practitioner of Kung Fu, and has a MA in Mathematics and a second BS in Alternative Medicine.


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