Boost your immune system the natural way

Friday November 25th 2016

Trainer Tracy Griffen’s Healthy Living Yearbook

Personal Trainer Tracy Griffen

Written by Tracy Griffen, Personal Trainer

Are you sick of getting coughs and colds at this time of year? As an Australian who moved to Scotland nearly twenty year ago, I am shocked that some folk rarely leave their houses over the colder months. Winter is a time that many spend on the sofa avoiding the cold weather and dark nights. Ironically, getting outdoors could be just what you need!

Regular exercise can substantially boost your immune system in the long-term. Whilst you are exercising immune cells circulate through your body more quickly and therefore are better able to kill viruses and bacteria. If you imagine your rate of blood flow increasing as your heart rate goes up, it explains why the immune cells are able to ‘cover more ground’. After exercise, this drops back to normal. Exercising also temporarily boosts the production of macrophages, the cells that attack bacteria. So, it’s good all round.

An excellent article on the subject can be read at HERE which states:

“According to Professor David Nieman, Dr. PH., of Appalachian State University, when moderate exercise is repeated on a near-daily basis there is a cumulative effect that leads to a long-term immune response. His research showed that those who walk at 70-75 percent of their VO2Max for 40 minutes per day had half as many sick days due to colds or sore throats as those who don’t exercise.”

Many of my Personal Training clients report that they experience less illness once they’ve started a fitness programme. In fact, due to my strict 24 hour cancellation policy, quite often I will train a client who is feeling under the weather. Firstly, I am not afraid of catching their germs as I believe my immune system is pretty bullet proof (I’ve not had a sick day in over a decade), and secondly, I know that a gentle workout may actually help them feel better.

My general rule of thumb about exercising when unwell is to only do what you feel, and be wary of pulse-raising exercise, as your heart rate is already elevated as your body tries to fight the infection.

It is worth noting that intense exercise is not necessarily better. This is because extended high intensity exercise can put the body under undue oxidative stress. In other words, if you are training hard, then you are already putting your body under extra stress, so it may not fight an infection so effectively. In fact, it can have the reverse effect and make you more vulnerable to illness.

Of course good nutrition is crucial … And on a final note, remember that rest is as important as activity, so be sure to get a good night’s sleep to keep your immune system in tip top shape.


Get motivated and look fabulous for the festive season with Personal Trainer Tracy Griffen’s Healthy Living Yearbook, which has loads of practical hints and tips on staying active, no matter the season. Get yours for only £9.99 including free UK P & P from Read a review of the book at

Tweet Share on Facebook  

Subscribe to the Midlothian View newsletter

Support Midlothian View from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Thank you.

Comments are closed.