The white blood cells of your immune system go to battle when a virus or bacteria or allergen invades your body. Recent studies show that exercise can help keep your white blood cells plentiful and fresh. This broad spectrum of studies confirms that exercise helps sustain and strengthen your immune system. It seems that stress is an enemy of your immune system. People who experience high stress get more colds, suffer more digestive tract problems and have more frequent bouts of fatigue. Part of the latter is indirect since it tends to lead to lowered amounts of restful sleep. Regular exercise helps the immune system by lowering the effects of stress. However, most of us find it very difficult to find the time and energy to exercise regularly. Until interval training came along that is. 

No More Excuses

All it takes to get a full workout is two to three 20-minute sessions a week. And, honestly, anyone can do them because the workout automatically adapts to your ability. Depending on your level of fitness when you first start out you may only be able to do two or three repetitions of the high-intensity intervals. That's okay. As you get fitter just keep adding repetitions until you're doing eight during your 20-minute session. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine of course. 

A Typical Workout Routine

High intensity intervals for a stationary bike, an elliptical machine in the gym or even sprinting around the block would all look like this:

  • Warm up for three minutes

  • Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. You should be puffing for breath, feeling like you can’t go another second

  • Recover for 90 seconds, still moving, but at slower pace

  • Repeat the high-intensity exercise and recovery a maximum of seven more times if you can. In the beginning do only two or three until you build up stamina

The Benefits Are In The Recovery

  • An important benefit of high-intensity interval training is its ability to naturally increase your body's production of human growth hormone (HGH) that promotes muscle and effectively burns excessive fat

  • There is a decrease in body fat 

  • Improved muscle tone

  • Improved athletic speed and performance

  • An ability to achieve your fitness goals much faster

  • An increase in energy

  • You will find you get firmer skin

  • A study found doing just three high-intensity exercise sessions per week for four weeks could lead to a 24 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity

  • It helps relieve stress by providing an outlet for and consuming much of the nervous energy produced by stress. It also helps indirectly by shifting one's focus away from the external factors producing the stress

  • Interval training helps the cardiovascular system by improving blood flow, flushing away toxins from muscles and organs, and helping keep the kidneys and endocrine system working well. It helps remove germs and circulate antibodies

  • It also promotes a healthy immune system by lessening the body's susceptibility to disease while increasing the strength of the immune system itself

  • High intensity exercise increases the body temperature slightly. This, as anyone who has suffered from a cold knows, is the body's natural response to colds, flu and other diseases. The increased temperature helps kill the infecting organisms

  • Research presented at the Integrative Biology of Exercise VI meeting in Colorado on October 10-13, 2012 demonstrated that high-intensity interval training burns more calories in less time. It seems that a mere 2.5 minutes, divided into five 30-second sprint intervals at maximum exertion, each followed by four minutes of light recuperation, can burn as much as 220 calories

A study at the University of Colorado, Boulder suggests that regular exercise helps prevent colds. It showed that individuals are less likely to get sick after stressful situations when they had engaged in a regular program of exercise. Those who began exercise on the same day as the stressor didn't enjoy those benefits. The secret is to exercise regularly as part of your protocol for good immune health.

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