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Key Points:

1. Physical activity strengthens your immune system to help fight off bacteria, viruses and other pathogens - regular consistent exercise reduces your chances of getting sick.

2. Less is more: A moderate amount of exercise (5-6 hours per week) reduces your risk of illnesses and infections, while a high volume and intensity of exercise can compromise your immune system. 

3. Close social bonds also decreases your risk of illness, so exercising with a friend or family member gives you a double boost of immunity!

“Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.” -Edward Stanley

In my first Move More message, I indicated that sitting is a challenge. Today’s message – which is one of my mantras – is that a little change goes a long way. That’s why I always focus on being 1% better. You can easily do things 1% better. And a series of 1% changes pay off big time.

Here’s what else is great about moving more: you strengthen your immune system, which works to fight off viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. It’s like chemical and biological warfare inside the body. When the system works well, we fight off invaders and stay healthy. When the system is ineffective, we get sick.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that people who exercise regularly experience fewer illnesses and infections than those who do not. In fact, people who exercise daily experience 75% fewer colds and flus!

But here’s a finding that might surprise you: exercising beyond a moderate level does not improve immunity further. Quite the opposite, in fact. When athletes train at a higher intensity than normal for extended periods, they experience a significant increase in illnesses. The immune system is compromised and it's easier to get sick.

If you are a moderate exerciser, you may have noticed that you take fewer sick days than your coworkers. Or you might be the only one of your group of friends who doesn’t catch the cold going around. This isn’t just your imagination. Numerous studies have demonstrated that regular, moderate exercise improves how well your immune system works.

And here’s a fun fact: research from Carnegie Mellon University reported that people with good social bonds (close relationships with friends and family) are less susceptible than others to the common cold. So exercising with friends offers a double boost of health!

So build in some exercise to your routine every day. If you're thinking that you don't have time, remember that by taking a little time up front, you'll be avoiding days and days of illness down the road. If you think that you don't have time to exercise, the reality is that you can't afford not to. Here's a short 3 min video I did for TSN on how running helps keep you healthy. Check it out!

Today's POWER-UP: Build exercise into your daily routine

1. Increase your activity levels to a moderate amount, aiming for about five or six hours each week. Any exercise counts - walk, lift, yoga, swim, etc...

2. Exercise with a friend of family member when you can to boost your immune system even more!

Dive Deeper: What's the best time of day to exercise?

If there is one question that I get more often than any other it’s what is the best time of day to train? The answer is that the best time of day to train, is the time of day when you can train consistently.

If that is first thing in the morning, then that’s great. If it's between shifts or during a layover, fantastic. if it's in the evening - as long as it's not too close to bed - brilliant.

If you work out first thing in the morning you are increasing your metabolism and that will help you all day long. Not to mention you are flooding your brain with all sorts of chemicals and hormones that will help you to think better.

Midday can also be terrific as it will give you a surge of energy that can help you avoid the afternoon blahs. My colleague Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, calls this “the second wind workout”.

Afternoon and evening workouts take advantage of the natural increases in strength and endurance that happen with changes in our circadian rhythms and can help to break down all the stress hormones that you’ve built up during the day.

There are benefits to each time of day. So the message is to do what works best for you and what you can do consistently.


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist Sky Regional employees with improving their general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. Sky Regional is not responsible for the content of this program which has been specially developed and is being provided to you by the Wells Group Inc., in consultation with Sky Regional. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release Sky Regional and the Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.