Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Exercise and the Immune System

Gomes, Elisa Couto; Florida-James, Geraint


Elisa Couto Gomes


Charlotte Esser


This chapter is divided into three major parts. The first part covers how exercise is associated with respiratory infection. Exercise’s effect on mucosal immunity, allergic rhinitis and airway inflammation is discussed as well as how certain viruses can affect respiratory infection risk in the athletic population. In the chapter’s second section, the influence of acute exercise on our immune system is explored. More specifically, the alterations in the innate immune system and acquired immune system in response to exercise and the mechanisms leading to these alterations are elucidated. Finally, the third part is on the effects of chronic exercise on the immune system. In this part, the beneficial anti-inflammatory effect of regular physical activity and health implication that this has on prevention and treatment of various diseases, which includes cancer, dementia, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, is discussed. In addition, the potential harmful effects of a high-intensity training period are also addressed. There is little research in these areas with resistance-type exercise, and unless stated otherwise, the studies mentioned here are with endurance-type exercise, such as running, rowing, cycling and swimming.

Publication Date Feb 4, 2016
Deposit Date Feb 16, 2016
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 127-152
Book Title Environmental Influences on the Immune System
Chapter Number 6
ISBN 978-3-7091-1888-7
Keywords Immunology; immune systems; exercise; respiratory infection; high-intensity training;
Public URL
Publisher URL