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May Series: How Exercise Reduces Inflammation

How Exercise Reduces Inflammation

To make a muscle stronger, you have to exercise that muscle vigorously enough to feel burning in the muscle and damage muscle fibers.

Then, when the muscle heals, it is bigger and stronger.

Theoretically, damage to any cells in your body turns on your immune system and therefore can cause inflammation, but most studies show that in the long run, exercise helps to prevent or reduce inflammation. Exercise increases cell damage, and the greater the intensity, the greater the damage. Initially, exercise turns on your immune system, but your body quickly responds by producing large amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory hormones to dampen down your immunity (Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, March 2017;61:60-68). Long after you finish exercising, your body still has anti-inflammatory hormones that help to protect you against future cell damage and infections (BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, Jan 6, 2022;14(5)).


A major source of inflammation is a high rise in blood sugar that causes sugar to stick to the membranes of cells and damage them. Exercise helps to control rises in blood sugar after meals and therefore helps to prevent inflammation. Your blood sugar rises after eating, and to prevent blood sugar from rising too high, your pancreas releases insulin which lowers blood sugar by driving sugar into your muscles and liver, the only places that store significant amounts of sugar in your body. When your muscles and liver are full of sugar, all extra sugar is converted to triglycerides that, in high levels, can cause inflammation.


Exercising specifically increases insulin sensitivity (Curr Cardiol Rep, Dec 2016;18(12):117) that rapidly lowers blood sugar by driving sugar from your bloodstream into your muscles and liver to prevent high rises in blood sugar and triglycerides.


If you’re not on an exercise program now, Contact me for a complimentary consultation


Your Health Coach, Christine!





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