We all know, regular, moderate exercise can help boost our immune systems. While the coronavirus impacted so many, we as runners have an advantage in terms of our preferred form of exercise.
While many are still avoiding gyms or they have concerns about COVID-19, going for a quick run in your neighborhood is a safe and effective way to maintain your fitness. For those who are not under mandated in-home quarantine, getting outside for a quick run may actually be one of the best things you can do for your health, as long as you maintain proper safety measures to ensure social distancing protocols.
Here are 5 reasons why running is good for your immune system…
- Running Gets Antibodies Flowing-
As our hearts start pumping during a run, the increase in blood flow helps to speed the circulation of White Blood Cells throughout our body. This may help our immune cells detect illness sooner, and quicken our immune response to viruses and other pathogens. By promoting good circulation, running helps the cells and substances of the immune system move through the body and do their job more efficiently.
- Running Reduces Stress
These are stressful times, and high stress levels can have a negative effect on our immune system. Thankfully, easy to moderate runs can help with reducing the cortisol (stress hormone) levels in our bodies. As a bonus, having a regiment of consistent runs during the week can provide an element of regularity to our everyday lives. This, as well as just being outside, can lessen anxiety and the stress it places on our body.
- Running increases Vitamin D
During a time where many of us are sequestered in our homes for self-isolation, spending 20-30 minutes outside for an easy run or walk is a great way to get our daily dose of Vitamin D. Vitamin D works with our immune system to help modulate our immune responses, and it is an important part of our immune function because it activates the killer T-cells that aid in fighting off infections.
- Running Contributes to Good Health
On top of the mood-boosting effects of the endorphins released when we run, running also strengthens our cardiovascular system, improves lung function, and helps in maintaining healthy body weight. With the benefits of running on our overall health, our immune system can focus on fighting off disease rather than other health concerns.
- Running Improves Moods
As runners, many of us lead active and social lives, and being cooped up in the house may be hard on our sanity. Some of us are feeling stir crazy, but even short runs and walks outside can help clear our heads and give a sense of purpose to our days. Spend time outside. Breathe the fresh air. Go for a run.
Although running has so many health benefits, it is important not to overdo it. Exercise itself is a form of stress, and very strenuous exercise can actually suppress our immune system so it is important that you do not overtrain during this time. Here are some tips to follow when running during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Make sure that your workouts do not exceed your regular training in difficulty or duration.
- Try to keep your runs under 60 mins.
- Get plenty of rest and recovery in between workouts.
- Properly fuel your body before, after, and during a workout.
- DO NOT run if you are feeling ill.