How movement can influence the immune system

In 2014 Dr James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, and author of the book Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, summed up his findings after many years of studying the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles.  His statement was:

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking”.

His investigations show that as a consequence of sitting for a long period, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol rise, which has a negative immune impact on the immune system.

The solution to these adverse events do not involve a prescription but a moderate amount of movement, and avoiding sitting down as much as possible.

Immunosurveillance is a term used to describe the processes by which cells of the immune system look for and recognise foreign pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses.

It has been consistently shown that acute exercise sessions of less than 60 min can enhance immunosurveillance.

Studies have found that people who exercise regularly report fewer upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) than their sedentary peers.

However, note that the positive effects of short duration, moderate exercise on the immune system has been found to be transient, movement needs to be consistent and therefore incorporated into daily lives.