December 2022 It’s a new year but the same viruses are still circulating throughout the nation and since it’s obvious that exercise is good for both the body and mind, we dove a little deeper into how physical exercise influences one’s immunological response. We not only looked at ways to stay healthy this winter/flu season, but also at how staying active impacts mental health. Sharing his expertise and advice on these subjects is the Assistant Site Manager at Body Outfitters in Carmel, Alex Jaquez. Jaquez has been a personal trainer since 2015 and has a bachelor’s in Kinesiology. THE BENEFITS EXERCISE HAS ON THE IMMUNE SYSTEM We don’t need Bill Nye the Science Guy to explain how keeping our bodies fit helps to keep us healthy but a better understanding of how intensity and frequency plays into the science of good health may motivate some of us to get our bodies moving. “I found studies that discuss how staying active and fit boosts your immune health,” Jaquez shared. “To quote a study published in 2020, Physical exercise as a tool to help the immune system against COVID-19: an integrative review of the current literature stated, ‘The practice of physical exercise, both in its acute form and in its chronic form, significantly alters the immune system. Studies indicate that the modulation of the immune response related to exercise depends on factors such as regularity, intensity, duration and type of effort applied.’ And ‘Moderate-intensity physical exercises stimulate cellular immunity, while prolonged or high-intensity practices without appropriate rest can trigger decreased cellular immunity, increasing the propensity for infectious diseases.’” Jaquez added, “ stimulates your immune response and it will actually increase the amount of T cells you have circulating in your blood. Think of T cells — a type of white blood cell —, as the ‘fighters’ in your immune system that help to identify and destroy any kind of pathogens in your body. Another study, Protective Effects of Exercise Become Especially Important for the Aging Immune System in The Covid-19 Era stated, ‘Regular, moderate exercise will help boost the immune system at any age, thus reducing the risk of incidence or severe course of many diseases.’ And ‘Just 10 consecutive days of endurance exercise contributes to significant protection against respiratory dysfunctions.’” It’s important to note that while the intensity of the exercise does matter, as Jaquez emphasizes, “If we have somebody who’s never really exercised before, we are going to have them exercise at a lower intensity because we want to make sure that their body has been primed to deal with the stimulus we’re about to place on it rather than overdo it.” BATTLING THE WINTER BLUES WITH EXERCISE In the absence of sufficient Vitamin D from the sun during the winter months, many people experience the “Winter Blues.” Jaquez shared how exercise and working up to higher intensity levels will bump up your brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters, called endorphins. “Whenever you exercise, endorphins get released, which are essentially your body’s feel good chemicals,” Jaquez said. “And exercise has been shown to help reduce symptoms of depression. As endorphin levels increase, stress and anxiety have been shown to decrease. An increase in endorphins can help push your confidence and self-esteem and it will also help regulate your appetite.” The caveat that Jaquez emphasized was that someone who’s not accustomed to working out will need to work up to increase their intensity levels of exercise and will need to allow more recovery time between the bouts of exercise. When asked when a person should focus on staying healthy before the flu and cold season officially commences, Jaquez replied, “I start by asking my clients, ‘When is the best time to plant a tree?’ It should have been 20 years ago but the second-best time to plant a tree is right now. I understand that people are busy with life, families and work but the assumption is that it’s going to take 365 days to be in the gym to see any kind of noticeable results when in reality, it could be two days a week for 30 minutes. And it doesn’t even have to be 20-30-minutes a day. It shouldn’t be all or nothing. It should be how much time do you have and with that in mind, how much are you willing to set aside?” NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT Help your body battle the nasty viruses and bacteria that are prevalent this time of year and contact Body Outfitters in Carmel or Zionsville to schedule your consultation. Body Outfitters believes everybody is different and deserves a tailored level of personal training exercise that is demanding enough to create improvement while safe enough to match current physical condition. Their certified team delivers personal training services working alongside clients to help them progress to the next level and reach goals. Jaquez added, “, I take into account more about what the person wants long term and what motivates them. We should start thinking of exercise kind of like our financial . If we look at it more like a Roth IRA; the more you end up investing in it, the more you’re going to reap and enjoy as you are aging. If we start at 45-years-old, we’re still going to compound, we’re still going to get a solid benefit but it’s always going to be better the quicker you start.” For more information and to register for classes or sessions, visit bodyoutfitters.com.