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HEALTH| 18.02.2022

Exercising to strengthen your immune system

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The global pandemic has increased interest in everything you can do to help strengthen our immune systems, but the truth is that, more than supplements and specific foods, the main thing you can do is to follow proper lifestyle and eating habits, as well as being consistent with your exercise routines.
But how can you strengthen your immune systems? Experts are clear on this point. There are no magic potion that turns your organism into a kind of fortress against Covid-19 or other pathogens, but there are factors that enable you to be better prepared to face the virus.

A little less than a month ago, we launched our KM of Trust campaign through which we will help meet the exercise goals of seven protagonists who have been selected so that our coaches can design a personalized exercise plan for them and help them meet their goals. In addition, anyone can join #MAPFREKMofTrust through the App that you can download from Google Play or the App Store, which offers plans, challenges, rewards, motivational tips, etc.

Can exercise strengthen your immune system?

Exercise is not the only aspect that can help strengthen your immune system, but it is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy and resilient immune system. Other important factors to take into account are: eating a balanced diet, accompanied by good rest, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding bad habits such as alcoholism or smoking, minimizing stress and, as we have already mentioned, regular physical activity[1].

  1. Outdoor exercise to strengthen your immune system

Exercising outdoors is one of the best ways to improve your immune system. A running session or a walk in the sun provides you with a dose of vitamin D, which contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system.


  1. Train and improve with cardiovascular and strength exercises

It is important to follow workouts that combine different types of exercises to achieve the most complete routine possible. For example, you can create routines that combine strength exercises 2 or 3 times a week along with cardio and flexibility activities to strengthen your muscles and joints.


  1. Watch temperature changes and avoid sports if you have a cold

It is important to avoid temperature changes. In cold weather, you can wear a thermal waterproof jacket that enables you to be comfortable and maintain your temperature. If you practice sports at the gym, remember to always carry a towel to avoid excessive sweating and have water nearby to stay hydrated. Avoid excessive sports when you feel unwell. If your cold symptoms are mild, you can engage in moderate activity, such as simple weight training.


  1. The importance of relaxation

Stress occurs when certain episodes in life exceed your ability to cope with them. Although it can affect all organs, its effects are mainly concentrated in the heart and cardiovascular system, which is forced to work harder, and in the immune system, which reduces its effectiveness.

When a circumstance arises that your body interprets as dangerous, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol. If this situation is one-off, once the sense of danger is normalized, the levels stabilize. But if, on the other hand, stress becomes chronic, cortisol can have harmful effects on the immune system, favoring a greater predisposition to illness.

A good way to control your anxiety levels and relax is to practice physical activities such as yoga two to three times a week in 30-minute sessions. This type of exercise will also improve your coordination and strengthen your body, which makes it a very complete activity.

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By choosing to do basic stretches you will be helping to avoid back or leg pain, which is very common among people who spend many hours sitting in front of computer screens. Stretching is a basic aspect for your body to prepare itself before performing other more intense exercises, or to recover properly after a sports routine.

  1. You must eat a healthy and balanced diet

Strengthening your immune system depends not only on your physical activity, rather eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins will also help you improve your immune system.

The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) recognizes that some vitamins or minerals (copper, folate, iron, selenium, zinc or vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D, among others, etc.) contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system.


However, this does not mean that an extra intake of these nutrients improves immunity, nor does it mean that there are deficiencies of these nutrients in the population. In a situation of clear deficiency of a nutrient involved in the immune system, taking it may have an effect on the immune response. Taking a lot of vitamin C only improves the immune system if there is a deficiency.

Supplementation with specific nutrients must always be guided by a dietician-nutritionist, as is also the case with sports nutrition, where there are numerous myths such as those explained in this article.

At MAPFRE, we want to encourage you to strengthen your immune system by choosing healthy habits such as exercising and eating a balanced diet. Whatever type of activity you choose, exercise will give you more energy and a greater sense of overall well-being. Start including healthy habits in your routine, take care of yourself today to be well tomorrow.


[1] How to prevent infections. Harvard Medical School, 2016. (Accessed on 02/12/2022)