Another benefit of exercise for the elderly
We have all heard that exercise improves balance, bone density, and cardiovascular functioning in the elderly. Now we learn that regular exercise will boost our immune system. Here at the University of Arizona, Associate Professor Richard Simpson has been researching the effects of exercise on the immune system among the elderly and other at-risk populations, and even astronauts.
Simpson has found that periods of moderate exercise can boost the immune system through a reduction in inflammation, healthy maintenance of the thymas (lymphoid organ of the immune system), boosting younger immune cells, and relieving stress which is damaging to our immune system. In addition to helping boost the immune system among the elderly, moderate exercise is similarly beneficial to people living with chronic disease as well as the obese.
The research also indicates that there could be substantial benefit in the fight against cancer. The number of immune cells in the blood can quadruple during exercise. These cells could help fight cancer or viruses.
The relationship to space travel is quite interesting. Latent viruses potentially remain in our bodies for years. When we are healthy, our immune system keeps these viruses in check. However, when astronauts go into space, their immune systems are somehow compromised. These latent viruses can then more easily activate. We’ve heard about the weightlessness of space having a negative impact on muscle mass and bone density. Weight resistance and exercise are crucial. Now there’s yet another angle – exercise might be of critical importance to helping maintain the immune systems of astronauts.
SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers can help seniors and those in compromised health situations maintain safe and healthy exercise routines.