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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 December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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    Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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