Tag Archives: Exercise

Cheering You on to Immune-beneficial Exercises

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Exercise n Immune_Trainer.aeWe are at the beginning of March. If you made a New Year’s resolution about health and have made some progress, cheers! If you don’t have a resolution or it fell off the wagon by the end of February, it’s time to get back on track. I’m here to help you by breaking down how a few types of exercise may boost your immune function.

Note that we are not talking about strenuous physical exercise (e.g., an Ironman race) performed by well-trained athletes. We will examine doable exercises for ordinary folks like you and me. The key is that you need to choose types of exercise that are appropriate for your particular situation.

Let’s start with moderate regular exercises.

This can be walking 20-30 minutes a day, yoga or pilates, stretching, dancing, and even badminton—physical activities that can be easily incorporated into your daily life. Moderate, regular physical exercise is considered to be associated with many health benefits, including lowered blood pressure, reduced weight gain, improved glucose tolerance, better sleep, and increased immunity to fight infection.

A few studies by the Kagawa group showed that walking at a forest park increased human “natural killer” cell activity and the level of anti-cancer proteins, with the effect lasting at least seven days. Because “natural killer” cells are a part of the immune response to cancer, the research provided an intriguing perspective despite the small samplings of human subjects in the studies.

Resistance exercise (weight training)

Resistance training ranges from push-ups and squats to weight lifting and weight machines in order to build strength. Maximal resistance exercise increases the acute immune response, which is measured by changes in circulating levels of leukocytes and inflammatory molecules (i.e. cytokines).

To avoid impairing the immune system, allow your body and your immune system the time to recover. For instance, give your muscles 48-72 hours to rest between resistance trainings.

Endurance exercise (aerobic, cardio training)

Aerobic exercise can stimulate the immune system. At the cellular level, research reveals that acute aerobic exercise greatly enhances a cellular signaling protein (G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2) that is involved in the regulation of hypertension and heart failure. The protein also regulates an inflammatory response, measured by activities of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (e.g. lymphocytes, a critical component of immune system), which was also stimulated by the aerobic exercise.

In a human study, eight weeks of endurance exercise also changed the blood levels of some inflammatory cytokines in a beneficial way in an elderly population and people with certain inflammatory diseases. In contrast, poor exercise capacity in patients even without heart failure is independently associated with markers of chronic inflammation, which may lead to infections following surgery.

Overall, how exercises improve immune function can be explained in the following ways: 1) Exercise may facilitate to flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, which may help prevent upper respiratory tract infection (e.g. cold). 2) Exercise may make disease-fighting antibodies and immune system cells circulate faster so that they could detect illnesses earlier. And 3) Exercise may reduce the release of stress-related hormones, by which the power of immunity is enhanced and the chance of illness, lowered.

Study note:

The issue of exercise and its benefits in regard to alteration of the immune system is a complex one and a matter of delicate balance. It depends on whether the population is healthy or diseased, and even within unhealthy groups, the effect on cancer patients may differ from that on diabetic individuals. It also depends on types and workloads of exercise, parameters measured (e.g., hormonal, chemical factors, or proteins), transient versus sustained change, age groups studied, size of sampling, time-bound periods, and other factors.

To sum up –

Despite the fact that too much exercise can have a contrary effect and reduce immunity, exercises in various proper forms at all ages are AAA (triple A) – Actionable, Advantageous, and Awesome!! Therefore, keep doing exercise or getting more physically active one day at a time, and you’ll reap the benefits toward transforming your health and life.

 

Image credit: www.trainer.ae

Dos and Don’ts to Control Weight and Defend Colon Cancer

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Obesity_DT_1341867955b7W3ZfLet’s face the facts first.

An estimated over 60% of Americans and about 2.3 billion people worldwide are overweight and/or obese.

Growing scientific evidence supports a strong link between obesity and colorectal cancer. Obese individuals (BMI > 30) have a 20-40% greater risk to develop colon cancer than those with normal weight (BMI < 25).

Most people don’t realize that obesity increases the risk of colon cancer, though knowing that obesity causes serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

To defend colon cancer, it’s critical to maintain a healthy weight. The following Dos and Don’ts are your guide for strategic weight management:

Do eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and a balanced diet.
Antioxidants, particularly carotenoids, zeaxanthin, and resveratrol are your best defense against colon cancer and other cancers as well. These cancer-fighting nutrients and vitamins can be obtained from a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and whole wheat, and low in red or processed meats, sugar, and refined grains.

Do intake high-fiber food.

Do drink sufficient water daily.

Do drink tea, e.g. green tea.
Catechins from Green tea can promote weight management through its effects on metabolism and metabolic enzymes. While increasing your metabolism, tea catechins also support fat oxidation to facilitate natural fat-burning process in the body, thereby contributing to its cancer-fighting property. See more Tea and Cancer Prevention.

Do exercises at least 30 min a day, 5 days a week.
Exercising doesn’t mean that you have to work out hard at a gym or run for miles daily. There are many simple ways to get exercises into your day and keep you physically active. Check out these gym alternatives 10 Joyful Moves to Boost Your Physical Activity and Walk to Reduce Colon Cancer Risk.

Don’t eat high-fat, high-sugar, or high-calorie diet.
Research has shown that a high-energy, high-processed meat, high-animal fat diet is associated with colon cancer development.

Don’t consume red meat and processed foods.

Don’t eat a big meal.

Don’t drink sugar-loaded beverages.  

Don’t drink alcohol.
Alcohol is high in calories, when combined with a high-fat diet, it may lead to weight gain. Overweight or obese individuals should watch out.

Don’t be physically inactive.
Physical inactivity has been linked to increased risk of several types of cancer. To keep energy balance, just remember this simple equation:  Calories in = Calories out

Don’t stress out! 
Stress can mess up your diet and daily active routines, making your weight management out of control.

The bottom line is:
Obesity is very preventable with a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercises. And colon cancer is preventable!

Image credit:  By Travelling-light