Our Immune System and Strength Training

Our Immune System and Strength Training

Boosting our Immune system is a hot subject right now. It seems like the whole world has only one thing on their minds, how to stop COVID-19 and how to keep safe and healthy.

While we wait and see what is the next turn of events, we certainly do not have to sit idly by without a fight.

Research has shown that moderate exercise is linked to boost our immunity system, and if that is the only reason why one should start an exercise program, It’s a darn good reason!

The amount of physical activity that a person does influences his/ her risk of infection, most likely by affecting immune function. It is known that regular moderate exercise reduces the risk of infection compared with a sedentary lifestyle (Matthews et al., 2002; Nieman et al., 2011

According to research, there are indications that even people who have never exercised before yet start exercising regularly get a progressively stronger immune system and become less susceptible to
Dr John Campbell from the University of Bath’s Department for Health explained: “It is increasingly clear that changes happening to your immune system after a strenuous bout of exercise do not leave your body immune-suppressed. In fact, evidence now suggests that your immune system is boosted after exercise — for example we know that exercise can improve your immune response to a flu jab.”

Primarily physical activity stimulates the immune system and strengthens the infection defense. There are indications that untrained people who start exercising regularly get a progressively stronger immune system and become less susceptible to infections [45]. Intensive endurance training or competition which last for at least one hour stimulates the immune system sharply in the beginning, but a few hours after exercise/competition, a weakened immune system results [46]. This means that the immune system in the hours after hard exercise/competition has a weakened ability to fight against bacteria and viruses and the susceptibility to infection is temporarily increased [47]. This effect is seen in both untrained and trained individuals. How long this period lasts for is partly dependent of the intensity and duration of the exercise, and is very individual. The “open period” can last from a few hours up to a day. If such a long-term activity session happens too frequently, it can cause prolonged susceptibility to infections and increased risk of complications if an infection is acquired. Planning of training/activity/competition and rest periods is therefore very important and should be done on an individual basis.