According to Robert Zilttzer, MD at US National Library of Medicine, daily exercise boosts your immune system, which enables your body to ward off viruses, bacterial infections, germs and other invaders.
In his research, Dr. Ziltzer discovered that exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, accomplishes three specific things:
- Flushes bacteria out of the lungs and airways
- Encourages antibodies to circulate more rapidly
- Slows the release of stress-related hormones, which can otherwise compromise your immune system.
When we allow fear to control our lives, that fear creates chronic stress which compromises the immune system. When we are struggling with chronic stress, there is a domino effect of physiology that takes place inside our bodies:
- The hypothalamus increases the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones make the heart beat faster and prepare the body for fight or flight. If the stress lingers, a gene on chromosome 10, called CYP17, is activated. This gene goes to work to convert cholesterol to cortisol.
- Cortisol is used in virtually every part of the body and it’s purpose is to integrate the body and the mind. The body and mind then work in harmony to escape the external threat that triggered the stress response. One of cortisol’s side effects, unfortunately, is that it depresses the immune system by reducing the production of lymphocytes – white blood cells. The gene CYP17 also turns on another gene called TCF, which suppresses the the creation of a protein called interleukin 2.
- Interleukin 2′s purpose is to put white blood cells on high alert. White blood cells are first wave of defense against viruses and other invaders. Their job is to contain the threat, stopping it from spreading throughout the body. This helps allows the body to buy time so that the immune system can manufacture the specific proteins that it will use to attack and kill the contained invaders.
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