Exercise has Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

April 19, 2021

Inflammation involves your immune system. It helps us heal and avoid infection and disease. Short-term, this is nature’s way of helping us heal and stay healthy.

When inflammation in your body is high for a long time, it becomes chronic. This stresses the immune system and makes us more likely to fall ill. As a result, chronic inflammation raises risks of most diseases. The good news is that we can take action to keep inflammation in check.

back pain and inflammation

Movement can reduce inflammation:

Those who move more tend to avoid chronic inflammation. This is because exercise changes your body and can reduce soreness. Movement causes so many changes in the body, and we adapt in ways that preserve health. 

One example of rapid adaptation is muscles. Every time you exercise, muscles release special anti-inflammatory signals. (These include IL-6 , irisin, and PGC1α, among others.) They can reduce chronic inflammation, a risk factor for worse outcomes from viral infections. As a result of these signals and other changes, those who exercise are less susceptible to illness and complications from the seasonal flu. 

By countering chronic inflammation, exercise offers some protection from all viral infections. Moving more can lessen the severity of illness, and less complications can reduce hospital needs. In fact, active people and those with less inflammation had better outcomes from COVID-19. 

Exercise reduces inflammation - Treo wellness

How much and how intense for benefits?

Intense exercise takes effort. A high level of challenge can lower the appeal of a workout. High intensity workouts do have benefits that exceed those of low intensity. The good news is that both are able to reduce inflammation! 

Every single minute of movement helps your body adapt. Research in healthy people suggests that a single 20-minute session is enough for changes that may reduce inflammation. As an expert, Dr. Hong explains: “A workout session doesn’t have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects.” Her research shows that “moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient.” 

Exercise reduces inflammation - Treo Wellness

What else can you gain from moving more?

Just 20 minutes of exercise could reduce anxiety symptoms. By lowering inflammation, this can also lower your sensitivity to pain. Dr. Hong’s work also suggests that exercise releases special factors that help us avoid depression and other mental health issues. Don’t forget to move more at your desk. Any movement throughout the day counts and these top exercises for desk work can keep you moving. 

Exercise is a natural way to help you feel better. Remember, any amount of exercise is better than none! 

As Treo’s Global Wellness Researcher, Karlie uses recent research findings to support healthier daily habits. Karlie earned her doctorate in Neuroscience and Behavior and bachelors in Health and Exercise Science.

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