Regular exercise improves many aspects of health in later life. It reduces incidence of age-related disease and mortality risk by a significant degree. It improves near all aspects of metabolism, and reverses the downward decline of many metrics of health and aging. Hunter-gatherer populations that sustain high levels of physical activity into later life exhibit a fraction of the cardiovascular disease of populations in wealthier parts of the world. The work here illustrates another known relationship: that active older individuals have a better immune function than their less active peers, as exercise improves the measured immune cell population metrics.
Regular physical activity has a profound effect on normal functioning of the immune system. For decades it has been accepted that prolonged periods of high-intensity exercise could depress immunity. However, current evidence from epidemiological studies shows that leading a physically active lifestyle is likely to be beneficial rather than harmful to the immune function. Exercise-induced improvements in immunity can be related to reduction in inflammation, maintenance of thymic mass, changes in the composition of memory and naïve T lymphocytes or enhanced immunosurveillance. Indeed, physical activity is a powerful intervention that has a great potential to improve immune
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