There are many different ways to be physically active. There is exercising at home, gym, in nature, running, swimming, bicycle riding (not the electric ones), etc. Some of them are more demanding than the others in both physical exertion and in necessary equipment.
So where is walking on this scale?
Or better yet, why is walking so good for us?
We can all do it. There is no need to learn proper techniques. We don’t need special equipment, although good shoes can make a difference and make it more pleasant. We can do it anywhere and it is 100% free.
If there is someone reading this that hasn’t already started tying their shoelaces, let’s take a look how walking improves immune system health.
The immune system benefits of walking
First of all, walking is enjoyable. We can do it anywhere, while listening to our favorite radio station, early in the morning, or late afternoon or whenever. We can do it while talking with friends, or just enjoying nature. The fact is, it is easy, pleasant and good for us.
There are many general health benefits of walking. We are mostly aware of what walking does for our cardio-vascular system, muscle and bone strength, weight loss and overall wellness and fitness and these are, of course, connected to overall health and the health of the immune system.
But how do we directly prove that walking improves immune system health?
While we are walking, there are several immune system responses, but the natural killer cells, macrophages and neutrophils are the most responsive parts of the immune system to exercise. Natural killer cells are types of lymphocytes, or white blood cells, which are part of the innate immune system. This part of the immune system is a non-specific defense system. It defends our bodies from infections immediately when the foreign pathogens are “spotted” and walking increases this cell activity.
Are you asking yourself why walking is the best choice for your immune system? If exercising is so good with such a positive immune system response, why not exercise harder and have more benefits?
Not all physical activity is equally beneficial to our immune system
Exercising increases our oxygen consumption and heart rate during the exercise sessions. These are often used to express the intensity of the exercise. It was found that moderate physical activity, such as walking, that lasts less than 60 minutes, and does not go over 60% VO2 max intensity is the one that is so beneficial. This is why walking improves immune system health.
More intense exercises do not increase the activity of natural killer cells. And it is the increase of these cells that has been somewhat consistent throughout this study that looks at exercise and the long-term effects of different exercises.
Also, heavy exercising impairs the immune system during the short periods after the exercise. This leaves us prone to the upper respiratory tract infections. Walking reduces the chance of such infections, which is yet another way that walking improves immune system health.
We have just proven how walking directly promotes a healthy immune system, but are there other indirect ways that walking improves immune system health?
Walking combats one of the major causes of immune system dysfunction… stress.
Stress is all around us and it is impairing our immune systems, as well as other parts of the body. Walking is a great activity to reduce stress and deal with it in a positive way. Just like the Verywellfit website says:
A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine showed that university students who walked and did other easy to moderate exercise regularly had lower stress levels than couch potatoes or those who exercised strenuously. Studies in Japan showed even better effects when walking in a park or forest.
Walking improves immune system health…can it be even better?
For example, T-cells are not as effected as we would like, but we still have a way to improve that, as well. By stimulating the natural production of T-cells in the body with Biopro-Plus we increase our body’s ability to seek out infection.
Walking alone can boost our immune system, but with just a little bit more help from BioPro-Plus, we can improve our immune health, reduce stress, and improve the quality of our lives.