According to the most recent research, your immunity is best sparked by outdoor aerobic activity of medium intensity lasting 30 to 60 minutes, providing you perform it for a minimum of five days a week or at least 150 to 300 minutes a week.
This is according to a scientific study performed last year and led by professor David Nieman from the Appalachian State University, which examined the immediate as well as the long-term effect of aerobic exercise on the immune system.
Why move outdoors in the fresh air
Movement outdoors in the fresh air increases the resistance of the mucous membranes of the respiratory system. During the movement, mucous secretion increases and serves as a protective barrier against penetration of viruses and other pathogens further into the body. Dry warm air, on the other hand, dries out the mucous membranes, thus lowering their protective function.
Professor Nieman’s study says that regular aerobic exercise of medium intensity* was able to reduce the occurrence and seriousness of respiratory diseases in adults between the age of 18 and 85 years by up to 45 % compared to non-active individuals. The study monitored 1002 persons and took place over 12 weeks in the autumn and winter season.
The study also points out the risk factors, which contribute to contracting infections respiratory diseases. Apart from higher age, these mainly include: high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and sedentary lifestyle.
*I.e. walking at the speed of 100 m/min., or fast walk, during which you are still able to talk but not able to sing.
How does physical activity improve the functioning of the immune system?
According to professor Nieman, the number of white blood cells fluctuates in the course of the day. When the body is resting, they mainly stay in the tissues and organs of the immune system, such as the thymus, spleen or the lymph nodes.
During physical activity, the blood and lymph flow increase and with them the number of white blood cells circulating in the body*. They also move at higher speed, reaching pathogens (viruses, bacteria, microbes etc.), which they liquidate on the spot, sooner.
*During exercising, the scientists registered increased activity mainly of neutrophils, monocytes, T-cells, B-cells and NK-cells. You can find out more about what these white blood cells do in here.
While this increased activity of the immune system subsides within approximately three hours after the exercise, if you have physical activity every day, pathogens do not have much of a chance to settle in your body. This also implies that regular movement is far more important for increasing your immunity than any great or intermittent sports achievements.
Be careful about inadequate exertion
Exhausting exercise, demanding multi-stage training without adequate rest and intake of saccharides (glucose is an important source of energy for the cells of the immune system), will cause secretion of stress hormones and a lowering of the body’s immune response for up to several days after the sports burden. At a time when we need to increase the body’s resilience, more demanding physical activity lasting for more than 90 minutes is not the best idea.
Experts also warn against physical exertion at the time when we feel the first symptoms of a cold or of the covid-19 disease. Intensive exercise during the acute stage of an illness may lead to its prolongation and more serious development, even in young and previously healthy people.
A scooter will set up the right pace
Aerobic activities approaching approximately 60 % of your VO2max* or approximately 60 to 70 % of your maximum heart rate**, will bring you the greatest health benefits.
*VO2Max states the maximum amount of oxygen the body can utilize during physical activity. Some smart sports watches can measure it approximately.
**You can estimate your heart rate approximately by subtracting your age from the number 220. Sixty percent of the result is the desired heart rate.
You can achieve these levels easily and without watching them by riding a scooter, which, moreover, includes muscles of the entire body in the movement. Scootering is also suitable for overweight people, because it spares the joints and keeps the heart rate on fat-burning level. Plus you can ride a scooter even during the colder months of the year, all you need is to dress well. You can find some tips for how to layer your clothes correctly on the Yedoo blog.
Add some other activities you will enjoy
In order to stick to moving, we recommend choosing several activities you will enjoy and alternating them in the course of the year. You can for example combine scootering with fast walk, jogging (a combination of walking and running), swimming or running in summer, but be careful about running, especially if you a beginner. You can read more about this in our article Biking, running or scootering.
You can also use a scooter as a means of transport for your journey to work, thus achieving the desired regularity (unless you work from home, of course), you will avoid the crowds on public transportation and will contribute to lowering CO2 emissions in the air.
What to add to conclude
Regular physical activity, performed preferably outdoors in the fresh air, is one of many important factors that help the immune system function better. If you add a balanced diet with sufficient content of proteins, fibre, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day and a low level of mental stress, than you have efficient weapons that will support your health without any side effects.
Of course you need to remember social distancing, wear a face mask and wash your hands frequently, and you also need to remember the Yedoo scooters, which are a joy to ride.