Fitness is good for you, right? While most tout its benefits in the form of a smaller waistline or bikini season bliss, your body doesn’t only benefit physically. What is happening within your body is just as worthy of your daily workout.

If you’re prone to the yearly flu and every sickness that comes around, you better get moving. Starting with stress and working its way into your body to avoid the common cold or flu – fitness is your best immunity booster.

It all Starts with Stress

You’re stressed about work, you’re stressed about your dirty apartment, and while this all seems to be in your head, it can be affecting your body, too. When your body becomes stressed, it automatically releases a fight or flight response; this common hormone is called epinephrine. While it may temporarily cause you mental distress, it’s also suppressing your immune system leaving it vulnerable to every sick person you come into contact with.

Easy to moderate activity sends endorphins into your system; these are the cause of “runner’s high” that you so often hear about.  Coupled with dopamine and serotonin, the end of a good workout signals happiness and contentment, allowing your immune system to work properly.

Lowering Your Risk of Colds

If you’re still feeling stressed, don’t stress it. Just because something is pushing you to your limits, your workouts are still preventing you from getting sick. There are a number of reactions that happen within your active body that keep colds at bay:

–  Strong Lungs: Stronger lungs from vigorous, regular activity are thought to improve the body’s ability to fight off respiratory infections.

–  Strong Cells: Macrophages are the cells that attack bacteria which cause sickness; working out temporarily boosts the production of these, allowing you to fight whatever may be working its way into your system.

Improving Immune Response

If you’re happier and your body is functioning like a well-oiled machine, it makes sense that you may be more likely to respond quickly and efficiently to a potential threat. So, to be sure you’re chances of sickness stay low, be sure that you:

–  Workout regularly: Studies have found the best results are in people who have a regular workout routine and have a generally healthy lifestyle. While production of bacteria attacking cells are only temporarily increased (lasting only a few hours), those who work out regularly still see the immunity benefits.

  • –  Get aerobic: Any cardio – whether you’re running, walking, doing the elliptical or dancing – improves circulation, which in turn strengthens your heart. This then sends larger quantities of blood throughout your body which helps your body run at its best.

Whether you’re a gym rat or someone who likes to spend their morning in a pair of running shoes, staying active on a regular basis keeps you healthy and happy. However, it’s important to note that working out while you are sick is not a smart idea – this can lead to further illness. If you’ve caught a bug, be sure to get rest and hit the gym when you are fully recovered.