Having your doctor prescribe you a ‘dose’ of bench presses to beat infection or heal an injury might put you in a cold sweat.
But it’s the workout that could work, according to Griffith University scientists who have examined the power of ‘exercise immunology’.
Their study shows that resistance exercise, like weight lifting, increases key white blood cells in the body.White blood cellshelpdefend against infection and heal injuries.
“We found that both high and low dosages of resistance exercise increased the immune system’s surveillance potential in a similar way to aerobic exercise,” says Dr Adam Szlezak.
“Even a low dose of thumb resistance exercise increased the number of key white blood cells in the circulation.”
The researchers also found that with higher ‘dosages’ of exercise there appeared to be a more rapid increase and a greater number of white blood cells .
“Now that we know that different resistance exercise doses can result in distinct biological responses, much like drugs can, we now need to see if these responses can be used to reduce risk of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, as well as improve recovery from illness and injury,” Dr Szlezak says.
The researchers believe it may eventually be possible to prescribe resistance exercise in a healthy limb to improve the transport of white blood cells to an injured limb..
“Exercise immunology has the ability to make people totally rethink their reasons for exercise,” Dr Szlezak,” says.
“It may not just be for fitness and losing weight; it could also overhaul our whole approach to our health.”
Read more about the findings here. Story credit: Griffith University newsroom.
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