5 Important Exercises To Help Maintain Immune Health | 1MD Nutrition™

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5 Important Exercises To Help Maintain Immune Health

Research has shown the beneficial role exercise plays in immune function. With just 30 minutes a day, these 5 exercises can help support your immune system.

By Dr. Brian Greenberg

8 minute read

Last Updated April 22, 2022

5 Doctor Recommended Exercises That Support Your Immune System

Regular exercise is important for overall body health. Physical activity helps promote healthy circulation of oxygen and nutrients around the body to support every system in your body, including your immune system. 

One study showed that getting regular exercise can support immune cell activity. Immune cells circulate more rapidly with exercise, allowing them to better defend against environmental threats. 

In addition to this, staying active can support healthy energy, maintain a healthy balance of adrenals for a proper response to stress, and promote healthy sleep. Getting a restful sleep each night supports T-cell activity to promote healthy immune system responses.

Exercises To Support Immune System Health

According to a 2019 review published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science, exercise mobilizes immune cells throughout the body, allowing them to defend against environmental threats. Exercise is also effective in reducing the risk of chronic health conditions associated with aberrant immune system responses. 

Aerobic exercise is a logical choice when it comes to supporting immunity and overall health, but there are benefits to resistance and strength training too. Maintaining muscle health can help support your immunity, so you want to include a balance of both aerobic and resistance to get the best support for your immune system and health.

All you need is thirty minutes a day, and these are the top 5 exercises to support immune health.

1. Cycling

Cycling is a beneficial cardio activity that you can do outside or with a stationary bike. Studies have found that cycling promotes healthy circulation, muscle activity, metabolism, and immune system responses. 

It is believed that the immune system is rejuvenated with regular cycling, as the thymus, which makes immune cells called T-cells, normally starts to shrink as part of normal aging. An easy way to introduce cycling into your daily routine is to start commuting by bike instead of driving. If this is not feasible, then make time each day for a thirty-minute ride. 

A woman briskly walking her dog

2. Walking

Just as with cycling, walking is an aerobic activity that promotes the circulation of nutrients, oxygen, and immune cells around the body. Individuals who regularly walk each day can promote circulation and overall respiratory health because the number of immune cells increases after just five minutes of exercise

Walking may be easier to incorporate into your daily routine than cycling, and you still only need thirty minutes a day. You can make small changes to your routine, such as parking further away to walk to a store, taking the stairs instead of the elevators, going for a walk after lunch or dinner, and using a treadmill while watching TV.

3. Strength Training

Healthy muscle mass can support healthy immune system function. Your immune system requires energy and support to help defend against environmental and seasonal threats. Animal studies have shown that skeletal muscle supports immune cell activity, serving as a shelter for them to replenish their numbers. 

Additionally, when immune cells lose their steam, precursor cells from the muscles can migrate and develop into functional immune cells for continued immune system response. Maintaining healthy muscle mass through strength training can support healthy immune responses. 

The best part about strength or resistance training is that you don’t need to go to a gym. Simple at-home exercises can be done each day to promote muscle mass, such as lunges, squats, push-ups, and planks. You can increase resistance by using dumbbell weights or resistance bands as you get stronge

4. Tai Chi

Practicing Tai Chi has long been used to support immune system function and overall health. The careful, meditative movements steady your breathing and work to promote healthy lymphatic system function. The lymphatic system produces immune cells, and the practice of Tai Chi helps promote lymphatic activity.

A study involving Tai Chi practitioners showed that this martial art promotes immune cell activity. As part of ancient Chinese culture, Tai Chi has long been practiced for its benefits to both mind and body. As part of your daily routine, it can also help support immune system activity. 

There are many Tai Chi classes, both online and in health centers, so you can learn and practice sitting and standing movements to incorporate into your day. Once you have the moves down, Tai Chi can be a low-impact part of your life. 

A woman rebounding on a mini trampoline

5. Rebounding

Rebounding is not always considered an exercise, but it is a physical activity that is fun and easy. It can also support your immune health. Rebounding involves jumping around on a mini fitness trampoline. This low-impact activity is a great alternative for cycling and walking and can be done indoors and outdoors.

The benefits of rebounding come from the jumping activity, which promotes healthy drainage of the lymphatic system. Bouncing promotes healthy cardiovascular and lymphatic circulation, allowing immune cells to travel more efficiently through the body to get where they are needed.

Support Immune Health From Within

In combination with a nutrient-rich diet and regular exercise, you can support immune system function with the carefully selected ingredients of ImmunityMD® and BreatheMDTM; two comprehensive formulas developed to promote healthy immune function. 

ImmunityMD® is a doctor-formulated combination of naturally-sourced ingredients such as L-lysine and zinc paired with a probiotic and prebiotic blend to support immune system function. As part of a daily routine that includes balanced nutrition and regular exercise, ImmunityMD® can help promote immune system strength and reduce the risk of occasional uncomfortable skin or mouth issues commonly associated with poor immune health.

BreatheMDTM combines South African Geranium natural botanicals, vitamins, minerals, and an amino acid to promote antioxidant activity, respiratory system performance, and immune system defenses. The function of every single cell involved in the body’s immune response system is supported, particularly as it relates to lung health, making BreatheMDTM a powerful solution for sustaining immune system health and fighting off seasonal threats.

1MD's ImmunityMD® box and bottle with ingredients

Final Thoughts

Regular exercise is a recommended component of any healthy lifestyle, and it plays an important role in immune function and overall health. Your immune system is responsible for defending against environmental threats, so you want to give it the support it needs. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet and the powerful ingredients in ImmunityMD® and BreatheMDTM will give your immune system the support it needs to keep you healthy and happy.

Dr. Brian Greenberg

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Dr. Brian Greenberg is an immunologist, allergist, and pediatrician who received his medical degree from the University of Florida, and completed his residency and fellowship at UCLA. He has practiced medicine in Southern California for almost 25 years.