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The Right Exercise To Boost Your Immune System

The Right Exercise To Boost Your Immune System

Exercise has a powerful effect on your immune system, but it’s not true that the more exercise you do, the better you can fight off sickness. In fact, exercising too much is just as bad as not exercising at all when it comes to immunity.

The Truth About How Long Your Aerobic Workout Should Last

The World Health Organization recommends up to 300 minutes per week of aerobic workout for most adults. That works out to almost 45 minutes every single day.

To put it simply, that’s terrible advice.

Effects Of Long Duration Aerobics

You see, long periods of steady aerobic training actually create a smaller, weaker heart and less powerful lungs. And it can set you up for just about every disease in the book.

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Exercise The Right Way

Your risk of catching a cold or the flu or developing an infection goes down if you exercise the right way. But if you exercise for too long a period of time, your risk goes right back up. In fact, your risk shoots up higher than if you did nothing at all.

In one study, researchers divided mice into two groups. One group rested in their cages. The other ran on little treadmills until they were exhausted. After three days, all the mice were exposed to the flu virus. The mice that ran until they were exhausted came down with the flu more often and had worse symptoms than the couch potato mice.

In another experiment, mice were infected with the flu virus and then divided into three groups. The first group did no exercise. The second got a moderate amount of exercise each day. The third ran all out for two and a half hours a day. After a few days, 50% of the couch potatoes had died of the flu. Only 12% of the moderate exercisers died. An astounding 70% of the mice that ran for hours died of the flu!

Intense Workouts Suppress The Body’s Immune System

The problem is that intense, prolonged workouts suppress the body’s immune response for a period of time right after you finish exercising. And the longer and more intense your routine, the longer your immune system is down. And that means you’ll get sick more often.

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The reason for this is simple: your body interprets long periods of exercise as stress.

This raises the levels of norepinephrine and cortisol. These stress hormones tend to suppress the immune system. They cause the numbers of immune cells (including white blood cells) to drop during and after the workout.

Use The PACE Program To Boost Your Immune System

It’s clear that no exercise and prolonged workouts are both bad for your health. But the anti-aging PACE program has immune-boosting power. It shifts the focus of your workout from how long you work to how efficiently you exert yourself.

With PACE, your goal is to hit a peak of intensity in a short timeframe and then rest. You don’t have to do hours of cardio. You only need to work 12 minutes a day. You work long enough to boost your immune system, but not so long that you suppress it.

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Listen To Your Body

You can choose any exercise you like. It could be as simple as going up and down the stairs, jumping rope, biking, or swimming. The key is to listen to your body. You should be panting at the end of each exertion period. You should not be taxed and exhausted through the whole workout.

Try This PACE Move

Here’s a sample PACE move you can try right now. All you need is your own body and some space.

Supermans:

superman-exercise
    • Lie on the floor on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you and your legs extended behind you. Your chin should be slightly off the ground.
    • Contract your back muscles and raise your arms and legs a few inches off the floor at the same time.
    • Hold for three seconds, then lower your arms and legs back to the starting position.
    • Repeat several times, until you are slightly winded.

    Do three sets, taking time to recover completely between each set. And to make this truly a PACE workout, increase the intensity with each set, either by increasing the number of Supermans you do or by increasing the amount of time you hold the position.

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    If you want to learn some other good PACE exercises, check my YouTube channel. I have more than 30 different exercises and a complete workout to help you get started.

    To Your Good Health,
    Al Sears, MD, CNS

    References:

    1World Health Organization. “Physical Activity and Adults.” 2016.
    2Murphy EA, Davis JM, Carmichael MD, et al. “Exercise stress increases susceptibility to influenza infection.” Brain Behav Immun. 2008;22(8):1152-5.
    3Moreira A, Arsati F, Cury PR, et al. “Salivary immunoglobulin a response to a match in top-level Brazilian soccer players.” J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23(7):1968-73.

    Featured photo credit: fitapproach via creativecommons.org

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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