We are all, one way or another, aware of the positive effects of staying active throughout the day and physical activities on health. What don't we know yet? Studies have shown that the body's inflammation power for self-healing increases after physical activities. Brisk walking for at least half an hour and engaging in any sport, especially in the middle of the day, not only strengthens your immune system, but also reduces the rate of inflammation in your body.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the reaction of our body to various events at the cellular level. Inflammation is also a vital part of the body's immune response. It is a kind of defense mechanism that attempts to heal the body after getting injured, defends the body against foreign occupants, such as viruses and bacteria, and repairs damaged tissue. In the absence of inflammation, your wounds can heal late or the infections in your body can be fatal. There are two types of inflammation: acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to any disease from diabetes to heart disease. When you start exercising and moving your muscles, your muscle cells release a small protein called Interleukin 6 or IL-6, which plays an important role in combating inflammation. The IL-6 protein reduces other proteins that trigger inflammation in the body.
Exercise duration matters
Studies have shown that your muscle cells become stronger against possible inflammation as the duration of your exercise increases. For example, after 30 minutes of exercise or activity, your IL-6 protein levels increase five-fold. Scientists studying the increase in these levels associate the strong form of marathon athletes' immune system with the high level of IL-6 protein. A study published in 2003 researched the role of IL-6 protein in reducing inflammation. In this study, participants were injected with an E. coli bacterial molecule known to activate the inflammatory response and asked to cycle. An increase in IL-6 levels was observed in participants cycling for three hours. Thus, once again the power of exercise against body inflammation was revealed.
There are two types of inflammation in the body: acute and chronic inflammation (sometimes also known as systemic inflammation). Acute inflammation occurs in the skin after cutting or scraping or due to infected nails, a sprained ankle, acute bronchitis, a sore throat or tonsillitis. For example, acute inflammation is the cause of your temperature rising after your hand is cut with a rusty blade or swelling and pain caused by a sprained ankle. The effects are reduced after a few days later.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is long-term, and treatment can last for years. Diseases such as arthritis, rheumatic diseases, allergies, asthma, intestinal diseases, chronic heart diseases and diabetes are closely related to chronic inflammation. Factors such as being overweight, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, stress, smoking, insufficient attention to personal hygiene and excessive alcohol consumption can cause chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is usually perceived as good because after an injury to the body, the self-healing mechanism comes into play. However, chronic inflammation may require medication and may result in death if neglected.
Risks of chronic inflammation are:
Heart disease: Chronic inflammation is associated with cardiovascular diseases. Inflammatory blood vessels can cause increased fatty plaque blockages and blood clots, which can result in a heart attack. A recent study of patients who were newly admitted to an exercise program and diagnosed with cardiac anomalies showed that improvements in self-esteem, lower stress and less anxiety also improved the other criteria of quality of life. Thus, exercise programs and daily activities provide early recovery in heart patients.
Studies have also pointed out that the mortality rate of cardiac patients participating in exercise programs and doing regular sports is reduced by 20-25 percent. This is a strong evidence to support physical activity for patients with heart disease.
Diabetes: According to a 2009 article in Gerontology journal, cytokines that allow cells to communicate with each other can interfere with insulin signaling, resulting in an increase in insulin resistance and blood sugar. Increased insulin resistance can increase both your risk of diabetes and weight gain. Diet and nutrition are golden rules for a fit body. If you cannot fit into a full diet program or get your body into shape, you should make sure to be active throughout the day. Activities such as swimming, running and cycling in your spare time can also benefit your heart health. Besides these, it is possible to protect your heart with a few quick exercises during your lunch breaks, holidays and after meals.
Bone health: According to a 2009 article published in the Endocrinology journal, chronic inflammation is associated with osteolysis. If the inflammation is in the intestines, it can reduce the absorption of nutrients that are important for bone health such as calcium and vitamin D. If you have a chronic bone disease, it is time to take advantage of vitamin D. Sunlight-induced Vitamin D strengthens the skeletal system and plays an active role in the treatment of diseases such as rheumatic diseases, inflammation and osteoporosis. Sunlight also provides calcium absorption, strengthens the immune system and helps reduce energy, depression and stress. To get the full benefit from the sun it is enough to be exposed to sunlight 20 minutes a day.
Regular exercise for muscles
Studies have shown that exercise has positive effects on improving chronic inflammation, as well as functioning of the muscles and the ability of the body to get oxygen and exercise regularly. Daily regular activities improve the body's ability to carry and use oxygen, eliminating fatigue. This is especially important for patients with cardiovascular disease. Studies measuring muscle strength and flexibility before and after exercise programs show improvement in back pain and bone diseases, especially in elder groups.
Cherry prevents inflammation
Cherries have long been used as a treatment for gout and arthritis pain, but few controlled studies have evaluated the hypothetical benefits of cherries. At the heart of these diseases is the high level of uric acid. Elevated uric acid in the blood causes swelling, tenderness and inflammation in the body. According to a study conducted by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), consuming two handfuls of ripe cherries can reduce uric acid by 15 percent. The study also suggests cherries can help reduce painful inflammation by reducing the amount of C-reactive protein produced.