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does weight lifting hurt/suppress your immune system? or vice versa?

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    i've been getting sick a lot lately, and was thinking about starting some light weight lifting again, to see if it would give a boost to my immune system. I know that exercise is meant to give a boost to your immunity, but does weight lifting help too? or does it hurt it by taking away nutrients to rebuild your muscles, or just lowering your general energy? although i suppose it depends on how you lift as well i guess.
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    Any good exercise routine stresses your body to bring about an adaptation. So yes, in a sense weight training/HIIT/whatever can weaken your immune system in the short term by using resources (ie; protein, fats, calories, etc), altering your hormone balance (ie; elevating cortisol levels, etc), you get the picture. That is why if you are already ill it is a good idea to stay away from the training because you only risk weakening your immunity further and increasing your recovery time.

    Weight training on it's own isn't going to boost your immune system, you need to sort your diet out, resting, hygiene, etc beforehand. If you're getting ill regularly make sure you're eating a decent diet, plenty of protein, fats, calories, fruit and veg, make sure you're getting plenty of rest with not too many late nights, make sure you take an early night if you're feeling run down rather than going out and getting smashed, make sure you're washing your hands regularly, etc.

    Then think about integrating some weight training but at the same time you're going to have to revise your lifestyle further to account for the new exercise regime (ie; maybe a greater calorific intake, maybe more protein, maybe more sleep/rest per night, etc).
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    Apparently it actually weakens your immune system in the short-term. Personally i've never felt that.
    Actually, if I'm ill I think it's good to do a good workout with a lot of cardio so I can sweat it all out. Feels awful at first but have a shower and then have a good rest and you should feel a lot better in the morning. Tis' what they do in the Army.. a
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    (Original post by Lefty_P)
    Apparently it actually weakens your immune system in the short-term. Personally i've never felt that.
    Actually, if I'm ill I think it's good to do a good workout with a lot of cardio so I can sweat it all out. Feels awful at first but have a shower and then have a good rest and you should feel a lot better in the morning. Tis' what they do in the Army.. a
    Absolute BS and potentially quite dangerous. A large military site even supports this view.

    The reason you get an infection in the first place is probably down to your immune system being weakened, maybe by eating unhealthily, overtraining, too many late nights, whatever. What is training going to do? Weaken your immune system further and inhibit recovery.

    Yes, in a response to an infection like the cold virus your core body temperature will rise as a response. The theory goes that certain enzymes and processes within the body run better at a slightly higher temperature. HOWEVER, exercising while ill, 'trying to sweat it out', is far more likely to lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, etc, all weakening you further.
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    Thank you for the very in-depth response. I understand that in order to build my immune system, I will need to combine exercise with a healthy diet and good amounts of sleep.

    Would you say that weight training improves one's immune system in the long run? Or would you recomment more aerobic forms of exercise, like jogging or swimming, to help strengthen an immune system. Or, do you think that certain types of weight lifting - like lifting light weights for endurance - can be aerobic too, and help more?
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    (Original post by nish81)
    Would you say that weight training improves one's immune system in the long run? Or would you recomment more aerobic forms of exercise, like jogging or swimming, to help strengthen an immune system. Or, do you think that certain types of weight lifting - like lifting light weights for endurance - can be aerobic too, and help more?
    There is no real exercise particularly noted for it's immune system building potential, just live a healthy lifestyle and get exercising regularly, enjoy it. Sure, bog swimming is going to put you up against some weird and wonderful bugs, then again most gyms are rife with MRSA, staff, etc. Again, concentrate on what you enjoy and do it.

    Make sure you're resistance training but also get some cardio work in there to build some all round fitness.

    I've always been active and never really had any problems with being ill all the time so there's nothing I can really compare it to. The last time I visited my doctor was over 18 months ago.
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    (Original post by ch0c0h01ic)
    Absolute BS and potentially quite dangerous. A large military site even supports this view.

    The reason you get an infection in the first place is probably down to your immune system being weakened, maybe by eating unhealthily, overtraining, too many late nights, whatever. What is training going to do? Weaken your immune system further and inhibit recovery.

    Yes, in a response to an infection like the cold virus your core body temperature will rise as a response. The theory goes that certain enzymes and processes within the body run better at a slightly higher temperature. HOWEVER, exercising while ill, 'trying to sweat it out', is far more likely to lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, etc, all weakening you further.
    Thanks for the informative post. A quick google search shows that this is a very wide misconception ("sweating it out theory"). Your source and other reputable sources I have checked out seem to state the same as what you've said. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere about the whole sweating it out in the army thing somewhere though. Old wives' tale maybe, and in my case, the good old placebo effect.
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    thank you for the advice
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    Working out won't do your immune system any good, but if you are getting all the right nutrients it to replenish the deficits it causes then it won't do you any harm, either.

    As for working out when you're already ill, I find that if I have a mild headcold or similar illness that working out lightly can help alleviate symptoms, no doubt due to hormone releases, though obviously if it's anything more serious it's not a good idea to favour symptom relief over actually getting better.

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