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Strengthen your immune system – sport & exercise for your defences

June 10, 2021
  • Sport
Strengthen your immune system – sport & exercise for your defences

Our immune system, i.e. everything that is part of our body’s defence system, performs amazingly every day. This is how we stay healthy and fit. It fends off invaders (e.g. the coronavirus) that we don’t like to see in our bodies.

These include, for example, cold or other pathogens. The stronger our immune system is, the greater the chance that we will not contract an infection.

That is why it is our task to strengthen the immune system. This does not have to be difficult at all. On the one hand, a healthy diet that contains all the important nutrients and vitamins plays an important role.

On the other hand, sport and exercise also boost our defences. Let’s take a closer look at how this works

How does sport strengthen the immune system?

A healthy immune system rests on two crucial pillars.
pillars. The first of the two pillars concerns our diet:

We want to eat a balanced diet so that our body receives important micronutrients, as well as macronutrients, and is thus armed against possible invaders. The second pillar to strengthen the immune system is physical activity.

Why do exercise and a certain amount of physical exertion play such an important role in our defences? Sport and the ideal diet are a real engine for the production of defence cells.

Müsli-Bites Rezept
Print Recipe
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Muesli Bites

Ideal as a small snack before sports or your workout
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: Banana, cinnamon, Granola, nuts, oats, sport, wholegrain

Ingredients

Instructions

  • First preheat the oven to 180 °C convection oven and line one or two baking trays with baking paper.
  • Finely mash the banana with a fork so that there are no pieces left. Of course, you can also use a hand blender.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Warm the honey a little with the coconut oil and add to the dry ingredients with the mashed bananas.
  • Mix everything together until smooth and place small mounds on the baking trays using 2 teaspoons.
  • Flatten the mounds with a moistened teaspoon or your fingers and bake in the preheated oven for approx. 10 minutes.
  • Then turn the muesli bites over and bake again for 7-10 minutes until golden brown.

Endurance sports are particularly suitable for this, but other types of sport also have a positive effect with moderate intensity.

When the body is under stress, it releases adrenaline. This hormone also has an effect on the defence cells. They multiply much more quickly and even a weak immune system gets a little push.

This “growth spurt” affects the NK cells, which are the killer cells of our body that attack tumour cells, for example. But the white blood cells and the T and B lymphocytes also multiply.

If the adrenaline level drops after exercise, the defence cells also return to business as usual. They become fewer again for the immune system to function normally.

But regular exercise trains this immune system in the long term. Infections then occur less frequently and the risk of cancer also decreases.1

Does sport weaken the immune system?

An interesting phenomenon can occur during particularly intense exercise. We can then notice a rather weak immune system immediately after sport.

After all, when we go to the limit in our sport – be it in endurance sports, but especially in sports like weight training or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) – our body first has to recover again. . Giving it this time plays an important role in regeneration.

How long is the immune system weakened after sport?

The phenomenon of the immune system being weakened for a short time by great stress is also called the open-window effect or open-window phenomenon. It is caused by the fact that the rapid increase in defence cells during unusually high stress is followed by an equally rapid decrease in these cells.

In addition, the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract can be irritated by particularly intensive sport, making it easier for viruses and bacteria to take hold. Sore throat or cold, coughing or sneezing can be the result, especially in the colder season.

Despite this open-window effect, however, it could be determined: Even if competitive athletes are more prone to infections during extreme stress, such as in competition, they fall ill less frequently throughout the year than people who do no or very little sport.

Moreover, the immune system returns to its normal function after about 24 hours.

Welche Ausdauersportler haben einen hohen BMI?

How do you train the immune system properly?

The best thing for our immune system, in terms of exercise, is moderate exertion.

  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Hiking

These sports can be done regularly every week. Furthermore, we can support our body with sufficient sleep.

And of course, a healthy diet is important, consisting of plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, only a few animal products as well as meat and fish in as small quantities as possible.

Vitamins and minerals should always be available in sufficient quantities. A well-functioning immune system is also characterised by healthy intestines.

The right diet for your immune system

The right diet can strengthen your immune system and influence your BMI. The two pillars of the immune system that we talked about at the beginning can support each other.

A healthy diet also gives the body the energy it needs to be active. The immune system particularly benefits from this interaction.

The best start to an immune-friendly day is a healthy breakfast. And if you are active in sports, then our VERIVAL Protein Porridge is ideal for you. The oat flakes provide long-term energy supply and not just a short-lasting boost.

The high fibre content supports the intestinal flora. And last but not least, the abundant protein ensures that you can effectively build up strength. So nothing stands in the way of a healthy defence.

1. Leitzmann M, Powers H, Anderson AS, et al. European Code against Cancer 4th Edition: Physical activity and cancer. Cancer Epidemiology. Published online December 2015:S46-S55. doi:10.1016/j.canep.2015.03.009

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