What makes you healthy? What does it mean to be sick or ill? One way people describe being healthy is that they aren’t sick.
They don’t catch many colds or other infections, and they don’t have serious health conditions like heart disease or diabetes. Having a strong immune system is necessary to be healthy and not sick. And one of the best ways to keep your immune system healthy is to be active.
A Healthy Immune System
Based on research from the University of Rochester and other medical centers, scientists have compiled a list of things that lower immune system function, including:
• Sleep problems
• Poor diet
Inactivity includes a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of movement or exercise. Inactivity alone can lower the immune system function because the immune system works best when you are active and healthy.
Inactivity also contributes to how the body’s immune system protects against disease, the types of medications needed to fight or manage the disease, and the effects of stress on the body.
Inactivity can also contribute to sleep problems and being isolated from others may increase inactivity. Inactivity can lower the function of the immune system in many ways.
A study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that a sedentary lifestyle increased the risk of premature death.
Inactivity leaves people more vulnerable to:
• Impaired immune system function
• Chronic diseases
Since the early 1900s, studies have proven that exercise and increased activity improve circulation. Improved circulation allows immune system cells to be more available throughout the body to fight off infections.
While acute inflammation is the immune system’s response to infection, prolonged inflammation leads to cell and tissue damage. A study published in the Nature Reviews Immunology journal showed that regular exercise improved the body’s ability to lower inflammation caused by chronic stress.
The Journal of Immunology Research reports that poor immune system function can lead to multiple chronic medical conditions and diseases.