Moderate Intensity Exercise: It’s the Immune Boosting Exercise!

February 28th, 2021

A man jogging outside

Looking to boost your immune system in these last days of winter with more than just the COVID-19 vaccine? Fitness can help. In particular, try consistent moderate exercise.

Why moderate as opposed to high or low impact exercise?

Moderate exercise has been shown to strengthen the immune system, whereas too little or low impact exercise doesn’t have enough impact and too strenuous exercise can have the opposite effect for an average person – creating a stress response in the body (with the exception for trained athletes who are conditioned for that level of exercise).

What is moderate exercise?

Moderate intensity exercise gets your heart rate up to 50-60% higher than its rate when you are at rest. Think of it as the middle-ground of exercise. It’s not a low impact yoga session or a stroll around the block, but it’s also not a vigorous run or high intensity interval training workout.

How should it feel?

In more simple terms, while exercising with moderate intensity, you are still able to talk, but can’t sing. You may break a sweat, but are not vigorously breathing. You feel like you’re exercising and not just doing basic movements.

What are some examples of moderate exercise?

● 30 minute brisk walk or hike
● 20-30 minute jog or moderately paced run (1.5-2.5 miles)
● 30 minutes of biking at a moderate pace
● 20-30 minutes on an elliptical
● Dancing for 30 minutes
● Jumping rope for 15 minutes
● Swimming laps for 20-30 minutes
● Playing basketball for 20-30 minutes
● Gardening, shoveling, deep cleaning, and washing the car for 30 minutes

How much do I need to do?

Ideally, 150 minutes per week (or 5 days of 30 minutes) for maximum health benefits according to the American Heart Association.

Why does moderate exercise boost immunity?

Scientific studies have shown that moderate exercise can help prevent illnesses like flu and infections. Exercise can help circulate air in the lungs, flush out bacteria, reduce stress, decrease the  inflammatory response, and increase anti-pathogenic activity (U.S. National Library of Medicine). Looking to build a moderate intensity exercise routine? The Fit and Food Connection can help! Participate in our classes or get coaching to help you build the right routine that fits you.

By: Katie Talarico