Benefits of sport on the immune system Does exercise make you less sick?

The practice of physical and sporting activities (PSA) is constantly increasing in society. It is not surprising, when we know the important roles that these activities play on health: weight management, slowing down aging, improving cardio-respiratory functions, reducing stress, increasing the quality of sleep, etc. But what about their impact on the immune system?


It’s impossible to answer this question in a single sentence. Why? Because, like medications, the effects of APS vary greatly depending on the frequency, quality, and type of activity an individual engages in. Here’s how!

Moderate to high intensity exercise has the effect of stimulating the immune system: by improving blood circulation, exercise allows the various substances of the immune system to circulate more efficiently throughout the body. This positive effect also seems to continue to be felt for a few days after exercise. Result: it is rather rare to see a physically active person suffer an upper respiratory infection (URTI), such as sore throat, cold or sinusitis, due to this immunoprotective effect.

Conversely, engaging in strenuous activities appears to temporarily impair our immune defenses. Anyone whose physical training resembles that of someone training for a triathlon or marathon is therefore at greater risk of activating the release of stress hormones (cortisol, endorphins, etc.) in their body. This repeated stress leads to what scientists like to call an “open window”: a period of one to three days during which the defense system is vulnerable to URTIs.

If you are passionate about this type of demanding physical activity, do not stop practicing it, but stay alert. As soon as symptoms of an URTI appear, slow down the frequency and intensity of your training and eat healthily to avoid worsening your condition.


It is clear that practicing physical and sporting activities provides benefits for the immune system. The golden rule to avoid affecting it? Moderation. Limit yourself to sixty minutes of physical activity per day, this will avoid increasing the stress that activity places on your defense system.

However, this is not a miracle solution! The strength of the immune system also depends on other factors such as a  healthy diet . So why not combine the two? This is a simple way to protect your immune system while germ season is knocking on our doors.

Of course, if in doubt, do not hesitate to  consult your pharmacist . Happy training!


Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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