How Exercising Supports Your Immune System: Tips for Travel Nurses

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By Lirika Hart

May 11, 2020



How Exercising Supports Your Immune System

Cultivating a healthy immune system is the maiden step towards leading a healthy lifestyle and keeping illnesses away. The good thing is that knowingly or unknowingly, most people constantly boost their immunity by eating nutritious meals and exercising. The relationship between nutrition and increased immunity is pretty much straight forward. The relationship between immunity and exercising is, however, not clear to many.

Studies have shown that an average US adult suffers about three upper respiratory infections in a year. However, for populations that exercise moderately but regularly, their number of annual infections averages below 2. Scientists say that this can be attributed to the increased production of macrophages in the body when a person exercises. Macrophages are the cells responsible for fighting bacteria. 

Here are 3 more ways how exercising supports your immune system:

1. Reduced vulnerability to infections

The short term impact of exercise is helping your immune system find pathogens fast enough and deal with them before they start terrorizing your body. The long term impact is that exercising regularly slows down aging. Because aging is one of the key causes of deteriorating immunity, the spiral effect of slowing it down is a strong immune system. Both short and long term effects of regular exercise have aspects of lowering your risk of infections. 

Researchers also agree that a lowered immune system can come from psychological stress or insufficient sleep. Exercising is a known therapy for a troubled mind. When you exercise outdoors, say after running a mile in the woods, you come back home with reduced stress- happier than when you started running. Through lowering your stress levels, exercising boosts your immune system. Besides, working out makes your body tired, so you are able to sleep better and deeper at night. Lesser stress also means longer sleep durations. If insufficient sleep is a cause for lowered immunity, which can be cured by physical activity, it is true to say that exercising cures low immunity! 

2. Boosting your ability to fight with disease-causing bacteria

Regular exercise may aid the flushing of bacteria out of your lungs and airways. With the bacteria gone, your chances of contracting cold, flu, or other bacterial infections reduces significantly. 

Experts say that exercise causes the white blood cells, the body’s immune system cells that fight disease, to circulate more rapidly all over your body. The same happens to antibodies that detect illnesses in the body and alerts the white blood cells. This rapid movement means that the cells discover and fight off the disease-causing bacteria early enough thus preventing possible infections. 

Other studies show that the brief rise in body temperature that results from high-intensity workouts may prevent bacteria residing in your body from thriving. 

3. Exercise can lower your blood pressure 

How is the relationship between exercising, high blood pressure, and improved immunity? Well, according to multiple studies, regular physical activity strengthens your heart and enables it to pump more blood with less effort. That means reduced tension on your arteries and, by extension, lowered your blood pressure. 

Researchers have successfully studied the relationship between hypertension and immunity. The studies show that high blood pressure messes up immunity cells known as perivascular macrophages (PVMs) and interrupts blood delivery processes to different parts of the brain and other body parts. That means fewer white blood cells and lower disease-fighting abilities.


There is no denying that the immune system is very responsive to exercise. How much physical activity boosts your body’s immunity levels will depend on the extent and duration of the imposed physiological stress. More research is obviously needed in the area of exercise immunology to determine the exact clinical benefits of the exercise–immune connection. This is the perfect time to manage your time better and how you spend it. Finding out where your time goes is a great start. Spending time exercising is one of the best times you could spend.

Remember, exercise alone will not boost your immunity. You have to commit to a micronutrient-rich diet, practice good hygiene, and stay hydrated. 

We hope you found these tips for boosting your immune system with exercising helpful. If you are looking for a quick and easy workout for travel nurses click here.

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