Overwhelmingly, studies show that regular exercise boosts your immune system. The somewhat obvious caveat to this is that you must not overtrain or injure yourself in the process…this would lead to a major decrease in your immunity. In comes physical therapy to save the day!
Did you know physical therapists do way more than just address acute and chronic injuries? They prescribe series of movements and exercises that will protect and enhance your overall physical functionality (our therapists do this in a very specific way). These series of targeted exercises can help boost your immune system in ways regular exercise does not. One example of this, is that some exercises can be prescribed can help flush bacteria out of lungs and airways which reduce the likelihood of getting sick with a virus (Virvick & Zieve, 2020).
Another great example of how physical therapy can strengthen your immune system, is by improving the quality and amount of sleep you are getting. If you are one of the 60 million Americans that has sleep related problems, physical therapy can help reduce the underlying pain or discomfort that prevents you from great, uninterrupted sleep. Through expert evaluation and analysis, our team can work directly with you to resolve those underlying ailments and get your resting easy again!
Finally, physical therapy can reduce stress related hormones that suppress the immune system. Physical therapy can reduce these stress hormones in a number of ways. One way is the indirect benefit of being pain free. Pain is a leading cause of stress; physical therapy can help reduce pain which will directly reduce stress levels. Similarly, studies have shown that elevated levels of anxiety can negatively affect systemic systems in the body and ultimately lower your ability to fight disease (Otto et al., 2007). Physical Therapy can target and improve the performance of these systems to keep your body functioning and healthy. Staying healthy is more important than ever, especially now!! Contact your I.P. team with any questions or to see how we can help you start boosting your immune system today!
Otto, M. W., Church, T. S., Craft, L. L., Greer, T. L., Smits, J. A., & Trivedi, M. H. (2007). Exercise for mood and anxiety disorders. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 9(4), 287–294. https://doi.org/10.4088/pcc.v09n0406
The days are getting shorter, the air is crisp and cool (and kind of gloomy)…We’ve been hearing consistently across our patient groups that the motivation to move is down and the craving for comfort foods are up. Did you know that physical activity levels decline significantly in the winter months? This seasonal decline in activity is connected to higher blood pressure, increased body fat and many other health related problems (Shepard & Aoyagi, 2009). The color changes this fall sure have been exceptionally beautiful, but your I.P. team wants to help keep you moving as we transition into winter months!
We know as the weather cools down and days get shorter it gets increasingly difficult to exercise – especially before the opportunities for winter activities begin. Keeping up with exercise and eating nutritious meals are ways to combat the season change in activity and boost your energy levels. Your I.P. Team wants to give you some tips to keep the body, mind and spirit hardy as we head into hibernation season!
Exercise of the Month – Bear Crawl [into hibernation]
Getting outside to exercise may not be as much of an option in the fall and winter for many people. Dr. John and Dr. Lindsey recommend a simple exercise that you can do at home in any open space to stave off the seasonal slump. Try adding this Slider Bear Crawl for 8-10 reps for 2-3 sets to keep your low back stable and your core strong! From this 4-point position, slide feet back to a plank position and return to starting. For more simple exercises you can do at home or modifications, don’t forget to ask Dr. John, Dr. Lindsey or Jen when you come in for your appointment.
Tag us on social media when trying these exercises out!
We can’t talk about staying healthy through seasonal changes outside of our control, without talking about mental health. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) effects 5-10% of the U.S. population. If you’re feeling the winter blues, you’re not alone! Some ideas to help lift your spirits:
Get outside when you can for some Vitamin D
Stay in touch with friends and family
Join a group activity, take a class with a friend
Stay safe and stay warm!
Shephard, R. J., & Aoyagi, Y. (2009). Seasonal variations in physical activity and implications for human health. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 107(3), 251–271. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-009-1127-1