JAN 16, 2017 12:16 PM PST

20 Minutes of Exercise Suppresses Inflammation

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

We all know that exercise is “good for us” whether it’s for weight control, heart, bone, and muscle strength, or generally reducing the risk of disease. There’s apparently one more beneficial aspect to add to the list, and that’s the anti-inflammatory effect of moderate exercise.

Whether inflammation has a positive or negative effect on the body depends solely on the situation. When it’s the immune system launching an attack on a virus, bacteria, or other pathogen, an inflammatory response is beneficial. But in the case of an autoimmune disease where the immune system triggers inflammation unnecessarily or a metabolic disease where inflammation contributes to clogs in the arteries, the inflammatory response is dangerous.

Scientists from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine enrolled 47 participants in their new study. Each individual walked on a treadmill at a speed and duration adjusted based on their own fitness level. Researchers collected blood before and immediately after the participants began walking.

"Our study found one session of about 20 minutes of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a five percent decrease in the number of stimulated immune cells," said senior author Suzi Hong, PhD. “A workout session doesn't actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects. Twenty minutes to half-an-hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient.”

The relationship between moderate exercise and the anti-inflammatory effect is tied to the brain and the sympathetic nervous system, which are activated during exercise. The sympathetic nervous system, also known as the “fight or flight” response, boosts heart rate, releases hormones, and raises blood pressure. Hormones bind to adrenergic receptors contained by the immune system.

"Knowing what sets regulatory mechanisms of inflammatory proteins in motion may contribute to developing new therapies for the overwhelming number of individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions, including nearly 25 million Americans who suffer from autoimmune diseases,” Hong explained. Her recent findings are promising for individuals with chronic diseases related to inflammation like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even obesity.

"Each time we exercise, we are truly doing something good for our body on many levels, including at the immune cell level," Hong said. "The anti-inflammatory benefits of exercise have been known to researchers, but finding out how that process happens is the key to safely maximizing those benefits."

 

Hong’s study was recently published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

Sources: University of California - San Diego, Harvard Health Publications

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 17, 2019
Immunology
SEP 17, 2019
Decipher the Clues with CRISPR
Scientists have created the first retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing library to explore the regulation of mouse T cells, which are key cells in the immune system. Researchers mapped the most...
SEP 17, 2019
Immunology
SEP 17, 2019
High Res Look Into the Brain of MS
Researchers have revealed a subtype of immune cell aiding in the autoimmune disorder Multiple Sclerosis...
SEP 17, 2019
Drug Discovery
SEP 17, 2019
Glowing Tumors Reveal How Immunotherapeutics Work
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to examine how an immunotherapy dr...
SEP 17, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
SEP 17, 2019
Getting Rid of Damaged Mitochondria Relieves Autoimmune Disease in Mice
Scientists have found a way to inhibit inflammatory molecules that are linked to diseases like lupus and osteoarthritis....
SEP 17, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 17, 2019
The Race To Preserve The Microbiome
It is well established that the microbiome is essential for metabolism and digestion. The gut bacteria that make up the microbiome are also believed to pla...
SEP 17, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
SEP 17, 2019
Learning More About the Causes of Endometriosis Pain
Endometriosis can be an extremely painful disorder that significantly impacts quality of life....
Loading Comments...