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Strong Immunity September: 4 FAQs About Movement + Exercise

Lifestyle & Wellness | COVID-19 | Facebook Live Recap | OptimizePMD

Exercise helps boost your immune system through the release of your body's "feel-good" chemicals. It also helps you sleep better and lose weight, both of which contribute to a strong immune system. But how much exercise do you need? Is there such a thing as too much exercise? And what types of exercise should you focus on? 

Richmond health coach Michael Stroud answers those questions and more in this video. Watch below and read on for the full recap.

Having trouble getting the video to play? Get troubleshooting tips here.)

1. How much exercise do you need to boost your immunity? 

Try to get regular, moderate exercise, 30 minutes a day. Even if that's just getting a walk. It doesn't have to be anything intense. If you can do high-intensity, great. But if you can't, that's fine. Don't think you aren't doing yourself any good, because you certainly are. 

If you don't exercise regularly you are more susceptible to getting colds. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body

Moderate aerobic exercise also increases the amount of slow wave sleep you get. Slow wave sleep refers to deep sleep, where the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate.

2. What types of exercise are best? 

HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or strength training. Strength training can mean many different things, whether that's bodyweight training (aka using just your body, no equipment) or going to an actual gym and using equipment there. Maybe a class setting or online fitness class is more your style. And remember, if you can't do high-intensity, any regular exercise is going to help. 

The key is to choose something you enjoy, so that you are willing to stick with it more. 

3. Is too much exercise a thing? 

Yes! While exercise is great,  the body also needs time to recover. You are not getting stronger while you are exercising, but when you are recovering. Over-training can actually weaken the immune system and make you more vulnerable to illness.

How much is too much is determined by individual fitness level. A good rule to follow, unless you are advanced, is weight training every other day or a two on, one off approach.

For cardiovascular exercise, unless you're doing it at high intensity or over a long distance, moderate activity is safe on a daily basis.

4. Does it matter what time of day I exercise? 

Not really. Only if it affects if you are likely to exercise or not. Whatever time you are most likely to do it is best. I will say, if you are a busy person, the morning is most likely the best option as you get it done and out of the way.

5. I have trouble sticking to a routine. And then I feel like I'm starting over every couple weeks. Any tips? 

  • Having a workout buddy can be a great way to keep yourself accountable knowing someone else is counting on you to go, too.
  • Mix up the workouts so you don’t get bored of the same old things
  • Understand that you are not always going to feel like working out, but remind yourself of your goals and that this is for you.
  • Make it realistic! Don’t try going from 0 days per week to 7 days per week, set a realistic number of workouts and stick to it.
  • Make it routine and don’t make it the last thing on your list of things to do. Plan when you will be doing your workouts and stick to it.

Strong Immunity September

You wear a mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands frequently. You are doing what you need to do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19. But what can you do to reduce your risk of having a bad outcome, think serious symptoms or hospitalization? 

That's what we're focusing on this September. What strategies will help boost your immune system so it's best prepared to ward off COVID-19 (and any other illness)? Check out all of our content here.