Does Running Boost Immunity?

Last Updated on May 7, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster

Lots of things boost immunity. A healthy diet, getting enough sleep, maybe those vitamins I keep taking. But does running boost immunity? Or increase lung function  to warn off serious breathing problems during your battle for better health?  

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feet running on pavement and person sick in bed with text Running While Sick is it a good idea

When mom gets sick

Apparently I came home from my husband’s Disney Marathon with some kind of mutant germ that is trying it’s best to kill me. Getting a cold is miserable. I have been sick for about 10 days now. Of course, I started out with my normal holistic regimen of saline, herbal teas, vitamins, fluids and sleep.

I have moved on to self medicating with my kid’s steroids and inhalers in an attempt to not cough up a lung. I am about to throw in the towel against these Micky Mouse mutant microbes and head to the doctor for a round of antibiotics.

Since I am allergic to just about every common antibiotic, they will have to put me on some super antimicrobial that will make me nauseous, wreak havoc on my intestinal track and result in months of yogurt therapy to combat those girly problems that always follow antibiotics. Or I could just cough up a lung…hey, I have 2, right?

runner in shadows with text does running boost immunity

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Running Boosts Immunity… or so he says…

So, last night my husband says to me (between my fits of coughing) “You should go running more.”

“Why”” I ask? “Because it doesn’t hurt enough to breath while standing still?”

He clarifies a bit…no, don’t go running NOW but running would help prevent your colds from turning into this respiratory failure that requires your own pharmacy to treat.

So, I wonder to myself…is there any truth to this theory? Does running boost immunity? Can going for a run improve lung function for people who have a tendency towards respiratory illnesses? (technically, at least according to the doctor, I have “Reactive Airway Disease” and not actual asthma but we will just generalize and call them ‘breathing issues’) 

I run occasionally (usually when I feel REALLY guilty about what I ate the day before!) but am not what anyone would call an avid runner. Walking…yes, way more my speed. Running is something to do to burn calories and keep me from buying new pants.  Although, I admit, trail running is way more exciting than running circles around a track.

Tips for Trail Running in Barefoot Shoes

Does Running Boost Immunity?  

Livestrong.com has a ton of information on increasing lung function which includes not only exercises but also an assortment of foods and herbal supplements as well.
WebMD has a ton of information on how exercise can improve immunity.

And yes, they recommend moderate exercise during a cold, although recommend taking caution if you have asthma and breathing issues since they could be aggravated during your workout. I plan on stocking up on Nuun immune boosting hydration tablets but I won’t be running obstacle courses any time soon. 

Final Conclusion:  Yes, if I ran more I could increase lung function. Yes, if I ran more I would boost my immunity. Would running prevent the onset of ‘coughing up a lung’ disease every time I get a cold? I didn’t find anything conclusive one way or another. Any of you runners have a link you want to share where I can find an answer? 

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