Rishi Dhingra

The best, most efficient pharmacy is within your own body

Like every system in the body, the immune system is positively correlated with physical activity — its key components upregulated. Natural killer cells (NKC) are your first line of immune defense against infections (innate immunity).

Decrease vulnerability to infections

Physical activity produces more NKCs which assists killing cells infected by viruses. Not only are more NKCs produced, but they’re also more efficiently deployed to the infection site, like your lungs and the linings of your respiratory tract — where you’re most vulnerable to covid.

Lower risk of chronic diseases

Physical activity also upregulates your second line of immune defense (adaptive immunity) — your antibodies! Your body can more efficiently produce antibodies, enhancing viral defense and efficacy of vaccines. Antibody response also falls with age, making exercise more critical as you get older. This lowers risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension.

Slow down processes of aging

When you stress your body, you produce reactive oxygen species, generate heat, and ramp up your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode). Post exercise, you expend energy to deal with all that stress and get stronger from it by producing antioxidants, fix damaged proteins, lower BP and temperature, and switch on your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest mode).

We NEED stress to mount an anti-stress response

Activity forces the body to turn on repair and maintenance mechanisms. This can’t happen in the absence of physical activity. Controlled stress is required for repair — called hormesis. It becomes more important with age — keeping muscles, DNA, and mitochondria healthy.

Mental health positively correlates

Exercise releases dopamine and serotonin — our ‘reward’ and ‘happy’ hormones necessary for mental balance, panic-attacks, and anxiety.