In the midst of the CoronaVirus pandemic, the initial fear and uncertainty has leveled off as we’ve learned more about the virus and how to prevent it with social distancing and hand-washing; not to mention with a vaccine on the horizon. But another way to help keep your immunity up is through exercise. Pilates in particular has proven to be a low-risk, high-benefit form of exercise in today’s climate.
Exercise is a line of defense and an immunity booster.
Top officials such as the CDC and WHO are still encouraging regular exercise even with stay at home orders in place - and for good reason! According to a scientific review from 2019 in the Journal of Sport and Health Science exercise was found to improve mental health and immune response, lower risk of infection and reduce inflammation. The author of the study, David Nieman, DrPH, shared that people only have a small number of immune cells circulating around the body. Those cells prefer to hang out in lymphoid tissues and organs like the spleen, where your body kills viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms that cause disease.
Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, meaning that more immune cells can circulate at a higher rate. Over time, that immune response builds up - with a measurable effect on health outcomes. Prior to COVID, many people viewed exercise as a means to looking fit, but in this environment the mindset has shifted. Exercise is a line of defense and an immunity booster.
Pilates improves your mind as well as your body.
With Pilates having such a focus on mind-body connection, the mental health benefits of exercise also deserve some praise and attention. The exercises in Pilates require concentration on the movement as well as the breath so the stresses of your day are replaced by calm focus. There are numerous studies that point to how movement alone can reduce feelings of depression. With a global pandemic in place and less in-person time with family and loved ones, an extra boost of endorphins is something we could all use.
Staying active reduces stress, body fat and inflammation which helps fight off infections and prevent chronic conditions such as hypertension and heart disease.
“Exercise really is a housekeeping activity, where it helps the immune system patrol the body and detect and evade bacteria and viruses,” Nieman says. Consistency is key, if you exercise here and there you can’t expect to have an illness-clearing immune system. Luckily, Pilates is an easy and healthy fitness routine you can practice every single day! With more movement on the regular, your immune system is better prepared to wipe out sickness-causing germs. This holds up, even as you get older, according to another 2018 review article published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.
A strong body and a calm mind go a long way in improving your overall health and wellbeing. Staying active reduces stress, body fat and inflammation which helps find off infections and prevent chronic conditions such as hypertension and heart disease. Our health is more important than ever. There’s so much out of our control, but we can control how we react and respond to life’s daily challenges. Taking the time to exercise and de-stress will help support a healthier you!