How Exercise Affects the Immune System!

To operate at a high level, the immune system requires balance and harmony across a multitude of functions within the body. Lifestyle factors and general healthy living strategies are an excellent way to support your immune system and allowing it to fight off illness (1)

Some of the lifestyle factors that can lead to a strong immune system include:

  • Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
    • Deficiencies of micro-nutrients such as zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E may alter immune function.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.
  • Getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours a night).
  • Taking steps to avoid infection.
    • Washing your hands frequently.
  • Trying to minimize stress.
    • Meditating
    • Self-care routines
    • Mindfulness journaling
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy bodyweight

For our purposes, our focus will be on how exercise and maintaining a healthy bodyweight affect the immune system. 

Benefits of Exercise: 

  • Improving cardiovascular health
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Helping control bodyweight
  • Protecting against a variety of diseases

Communicable Disease (Viral & Bacterial Infections)

Regular physical activity and structured exercise have been shown to reduce the incidence of chronic diseases (4), including communicable diseases like viral and bacterial infections. The benefits of leading an active lifestyle include enhancing immune competency and regulation (2)

Mechanism of Reduced Rates of Communicable Disease

Chronic Exercise

Exercise has been shown to contribute to general health and a healthy immune system, including improved cardiovascular health, reduced blood pressure, healthy controlled bodyweight, and protection from a variety of diseases (4). In addition to general well-being, exercise provides the compounding benefit of improved circulation, which allows the cells of the immune system to move around the body to do their jobs (1). The literature supports a clear inverse relationship between moderate exercise training and illness risk (3).

Acute Exercise:

Acute exercise acts as an immune system modifier by improving defense activity and metabolic health (3). An acute bout of exercise has been shown to create a 1 to 2 hour period post-exercise where lymphocytes (white blood cells, which help to fight illness and disease) are redistributed to peripheral tissues. This redistribution results in a heightened state of immune surveillance and immune regulation (2). Research has also indicated that acute bouts of exercise result in a heightened response to bacterial and viral antigens, and chronic exercise may limit or delay the aging of the immune system (2)(3)

Bodyweight & the Immune System 

Excess bodyweight has been shown to impair the immune system. Some of the impairments seen with excess bodyweight include decreased cytokine production (immune system proteins that mediate immunity and inflammation), altered lymphocyte function, and decreased immune response to bacteria (5). Exercise and physical activity are major lifestyle factors that contribute to maintaining a healthy bodyweight (4), and thus a healthy immune system.

Recommendations:

The ACSM’s guidelines provide a great starting point to incorporate exercise and physical activity into your life to manage bodyweight, improve general health, and optimize your immune system (4). These guidelines are simple and general enough that even without access to a gym or workout equipment, you can incorporate physical activity and exercise into your daily life to help support your immune system.  

  1. Participate in moderate to vigorous intensity exercise 3-5 days a week.
    1. 20-30 Minutes of aerobic activity (there are many ways to get aerobic activity that are not the standard “cardio” equipment at your local gym).
      1. You can accumulate this activity in bouts of 10 or more minutes spread throughout the day if necessary.
  2. Perform muscular strength and endurance activities at least 2 days a week.

For more specific guidance on how to incorporate exercise and physical activity into your life, please contact info@acesportsclinic.com to set up an appointment (virtual sessions via Ace Virtual Care are available!).

Written by: Josh Downer, Strength & Conditioning Specialist at Ace Sports Clinic

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(1) “How to boost your immune system” (2014). Harvard School of Medicine, Harvard Health Publishing; https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

(2) “Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan” (2018). John P. Campbell & James E. Turner. Frontiers in Immunology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5911985/

(3) “The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system” (2019). David C. Nieman & Laurel M. Wents. Journal of Sport and Health Science. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254618301005

(4) “ACMS’s Guidelines for exercise testing and prescription 10th Ed.” (2018). American College of Sports Medicine. Wolters Kluwer

(5) “Obesity and the Immune system” (2013). Dr. Mildred K. Fleetwood. PhD & Stephanie F. Deivert. RD. Obesity Action Community. https://www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/obesity-and  

Have you heard of ELDOA™?

ELDOA™ is a French acronym that stands for Etirements Longitudinaux Decoaptation Osteo-Articulaire. It is an exercise approach that combines the philosophy of osteopathy and movement. The term is complicated, but the postures are very simple. The objective is to contract in depth the muscles around the different segments of the spine to create a decompression effect and restore space between the bones or the joints. And, ultimately, relieve pain and improve posture.

Regulars of Yoga or Pilates will not be confused with these stretches. It is very similar in that it is a postural technique where you go pose to pose. It is grounded in controlled movements and incorporates low-impact postures designed to decompress the discs in the spine and stretch the suspensory muscles and connective tissue for organs. We work sitting cross-legged, or lying on the back, then we contract certain muscles in depth by performing different stretches that are held for 1 minute. We aim for precision and posture maintenance rather than high intensity effort.

History of ELDOA™:

Created by world-renowned Osteopath, Guy VOYER, DO, the ELDOA™ method has been around for more than 30 years, but it is a newcomer in the regeneration scene. He was looking for a tangible solution to the recurring pains of his clients. Obsessed with diagnosing the causes of the problem, he developed the ELDOA™ method of teaching movement and exercises which “normalizes” bodily and vertebral tensions in connection with myofascial chains. Mr. VOYER, DO is internationally known for his osteopathic expertise and his extensive background in the field of sports, manual therapy and medicine, which includes degrees in physical education, physiotherapy, sports medicine and traumatology.

Benefits of ELDOA™:

  • Spinal Strength and Mobility 
  • Improved Muscle Performance and Tone
  • Improved Athletic Performance and Recovery time
  • Injury Recovery and Prevention
  • Relief of Back, Neck, and Shoulder Tension
  • Reduced Joint Inflammation
  • Improved Posture and Increased Flexibility

What to Expect:

Every session is designed to alleviate physical pain and improve overall posture through intelligent sequencing, cueing, and hands-on adjustments. No two bodies are alike; therefore, we adapt the ELDOA™ exercises to work within a person’s limitations so that over time those limitations become strengths. Our tailored approach allows us to observe and monitor your movement as you progress.

Kick start your new year by adding an ELDOA™ into your schedule to maintain your body’s youthfulness and relieve stress.

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Ace Sports Clinic is excited to introduce you to our new team member Ashley Frejlich, a certified yoga instructor and ELDOA™ practitioner. It is a perfect session for before or after your treatment with us to enhance and gel results and put a new tool in your toolbox!

CLICK HERE to book your private ELDOA™ session today.

Optimize your training and rehabilitation through purposeful movements

Maybe you’ve heard about this concept as “Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization” (DNS). The basis of DNS is on developmental kinesiology; early in childhood your movement patterns are automatic and predictable and are formed as your nervous system matures.

This article will show you how we can take advantage of the pre-programmed postures we possess to improve your quality of movement patterns.

DNS is necessary to optimize the movement system for both pre-habilitation and rehabilitation of athletic injuries and performance. This is not achieved by having strong abdominals, spinal extensors, gluteals or any other musculature; rather, it’s accomplished through the precise coordination of these muscles and intra-abdominal pressure regulation by the central nervous system.

Supine 90/90 position (4.5 month old)

If we fail to activate our deep core muscles before movement, our body will compensate by typically overloading superficial muscle groups, this can cause excessive loading of spinal joints, discs, and muscles.

In this developmental kinesiology exercise, I’m focusing on maintaining control through my deep core muscles. The ball is used as a cue to make it easier to recruit your core muscles. The second example is a progression using a resistance band to challenge your core even further.

High oblique sitting (7.5 month old)

Oblique sitting occurs when the shoulder joint is strong enough to support this position, this occurs to children who are 7.5 months of age.

In this video, I demonstrate a high oblique sitting followed by its progression. This exercise will improve scapular stability, core strength, hip abduction, and work on your hip external rotation mobility.

Supine to low oblique sit

In this exercise you will work your shoulder stability, hip abduction, and core strength. Make sure you’re keeping your chin tucked to help improve your cervical spine stability!

Once you achieve low oblique sitting, you can try the following variations:

In this video I’m reaching out with my arms and continue to reach further and further away from me. To challenge your core, hips, and shoulders even more, lift the leg up and continue to reach as far as you can.

Bear crawl (14 month old)

The bear crawl corresponds to a 14-month-old child.

A key prerequisite to lifting heavy in a safe and effective style, as well as helping you excel in your sport, is having great core stability. Core stability is your ability to control your torso to prevent excessive movement of your spine.

In the first part of the video, I begin with 4 points of contact (both hands and feet). I then progress to 3 points of contact by elevating 1 hand or 1 leg. Once you feel comfortable with this, you can progress into a 2-point contact bear crawl. Hold this position isometrically first and once you have that under control you can begin to crawl. The main thing you want to consider is to maintain a neutral spine, try and resist rotation, flexion and extension.

Conclusion

These exercises will help strengthen and optimize your movement patterns through purposeful movement. If you feel limited while doing any of these exercises, don’t be too worried, the exercise is just demonstrating the weak link in the kinetic chain.

If you want a more comprehensive approach to improve your movement patterns, get rid of pain, prevent injury, and optimize athletic performance, come see one of our Registered Kinesiologists!

Written by: Franco Floris, Registered Kinesiologist

References:

Sports Physiotherapy

We bring our health, high performance knowledge & experience and personalize it to your needs when recovering from a sports injury.

What is a Sport Physiotherapist?


A Sport Physiotherapist has a background in orthopaedics and has skills like advanced athletic taping, emergency first response, return to play protocols, assessment of protective equipment and footwear, in addition to manual therapy and exercise rehabilitation.  Sport Physiotherapists also have a thorough understanding of the signs and symptoms of concussion and post concussion syndrome, and are educated in up-to-date research in return to play or return to life protocols following a head injury, thus reducing risk of further injury.  The use of athletic taping can be applied not only court or field side, but additionally in the clinical setting.  A sprained ankle, whether occurring on the soccer pitch or while walking the dog, will feel better after treatment with supportive athletic taping!  The training for a Sport Physiotherapist involves over 1600 hours of on-field or on-court medical care in a variety of sports.


How is a Sport Physiotherapist regulated?

Sport Physiotherapy Canada (SPC) – a Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association – oversees and regulates the education and on-field experience of a Sport Physiotherapist.  The education system of SPC allows the graduate physiotherapist to gain experience and education through a variety of specialized courses. Through a mentorship program with current Sport Diploma holders, graduate physiotherapists gain valuable on-field experience.  The Sport Physiotherapist Diploma holder is qualified to work with Canada’s High Performance athletes in all International settings including daily training and competitions such as world championships and the Olympic Games, while the Certificate holder is qualified to work at the National level with High Performance athletes. 

Common Sports Injuries we can treat

Some of the most common sports injuries include ankle sprains, muscle strains, shin splints, tennis or golfer’s elbow, knee and shoulder injuries.  If you or someone you know is injured, schedule an evaluation with one of our team today.

Book today at acesportsclinic.com

MAT LIVE Functional Assessment, Treatment and Training Course

Toronto – September 15-16, 2018
 
Ace Sports Clinic is pleased to announce we are hosting a Professional Development Course on the weekend of September 15- 16, 2018 in Toronto.
 
The course is the MAT LIVE Functional Assessment, Treatment and Training course by MAT (Movement Assessment Technologies).
 
The course is designed especially for Health and Movement Professionals (Physio / Osteo / Chiro / Trainers / RMTs) who want to help more patients and clients with enhanced decision making and move beyond the traditional testing and rehab protocols, by collecting reliable, objective data using an evidence-based test and assessment tool, the MAT (Movement Assessment Tool). 
 
Learn why over 3,500 other professionals in 30+ countries are using the MAT with their patients and clients around the world.  This will be the first time the MAT LIVE course has been presented in Canada. 
 
Sign up today, as spots are limited.  Facebook at 
 
You can find out a bit more about the course by visiting their course website https://courses.matassessment.com/p/MATLIVE
There is a free online module that you can sign up to and watch to get a feeling about what the course is like.

Are you ready for Golf season?

Ace Sports Clinic presents an interactive evening event where we will show you how to prepare your body, prevent injury and maximize your golf performance.  You will learn about the best mobilization and stretching exercises to take your game to the next level.  You will walk away with an understanding of optimal golf bio-mechanics and the best exercises to prevent pain.
Time & Date:  Tuesday June 13th 6.30 – 8pm
Price: $55 per person  Presented by: Victoria Chambers
Location: Ace Sports Clinic, 1 St Clair Ave W, Suite 302, Toronto, ON M4V 1K6
Important information: This golf event will be limited to the first 15 participants to register
To book your spot in Toronto, please call Ace Sports Clinic on (416) 792 4223.