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Aug 08, 2022

Can exercise boost your immune system?

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercise is key. Taking part in regular exercise can result in so many health benefits, and here we’re taking a look at just some of them, as well as how exercise can support the immune system.

Regular exercise reduces your risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, lowers your risk of depression and can also minimise your risk of dementia1. As if that wasn’t enough, the World Health Organisation states that getting more physically active could prevent at least 3.2 million deaths from serious illness globally2. That’s quite a statistic.

So, how can exercise boost the immune system? Let’s take a look. 

How does exercise support the immune system?

The immune system is the complex set of cells and functions that help to keep us healthy3.

When you exercise, blood flow around the body increases. This stimulates the production of white blood cells, champions of the immune system, that have a key role in keeping you fit and healthy4.

How much exercise is best?

Studies have shown that the effect of exercise on your immune system depends upon a number of things, including how often you do it, for how long, and the level of intensity5.

But how much exercise do you need to support your immune system?

The UK Chief Medical Officer’s Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults aged between 19 and 64 years of age should aim to complete at least6:

  • 2.5 hours of moderate exercise (such as cycling or brisk walking) or;
  • 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise (for example running) every week.


For children aged between 3 and 4 years, the recommendation is that they complete 3 hours of exercise each day. For children and young adults aged between 5 and 18 years, the recommendation is 1 hour of exercise daily6.

One of the great things about exercise is the fact that there’s something to suit everybody. You don’t need to be a world-class athlete in order to get the exercise you need. From playing sports, walking and cycling, to running, attending fitness classes and pilates - it’s all about finding the exercise to suit you and your fitness levels7.

However you decide to move your body, consistency is key. Remember, any form of exercise is better than none. Aim to be active in any way you can on a daily basis. Find the things you enjoy and make it fun!

What else can you do to support my immune system

Whilst exercise is one of the pillars of health and a big part of a healthy lifestyle, there are other things you can do to help look after your immune system.

Your immune system gets the energy it needs to function from the food you eat8. A varied and well-balanced diet is essential to staying healthy and provides all of the essential nutrients you need, including immune-supporting nutrients like vitamins D and B6. Drinking Actimel yogurt shots is a great way to add those vitamins to your diet to help keep your immune system healthy.

Try eating plenty of fresh and tasty fruits, vegetables and wholegrain foods containing fibre. Milk and dairy products (or dairy alternatives) and protein-packed foods such as fish, meat and pulses also make up a balanced diet9.


References

*Actimel Core, Plus, Dairy Free & 00 range contain Vitamins D and B6 to help support the normal function of the immune system. Actimel kids contains vitamin D to support the normal function of the immune system in children. **Actimel 0% Fat 0% Added Sugars : No added sugars, contains naturally occurring sugars. ***Except for Actimel Kids range. ****Vitamin B6 contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism. △RI: Reference intake of an average adult (8400 KJ/2000 Kcal) (as per Food Information Regulations). Enjoy as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

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