Exercise and Systemic Inflammation

Inflammation is our bodies response to damage and is necessary to start the body’s natural healing process after infection or trauma. Initially there is an increase in levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals released in the blood stream to the local of trauma, this begins the healing process of the affected sites.

Systemic Inflammation refers to an elevation in pro-inflammatory chemicals in circulation for an extended period of time and can indicate the body is under stress at a global level.

Persistent low grade systemic inflammation is strongly associated with Cardiovascular Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Osteoarthritis and age related disability if our body remains in a pro-inflammatory state for prolonged periods of time.

Exercise and Systemic Inflammation

What are Risk Factors from Developing Systemic Inflammation?  

Risks of Systemic Inflammation

Lifestyle and behavioural choices have the largest impact on our risk of being in a pro-inflammatory state and the development of disease. Exercise alone has shown to be more effective than medication for a number of risk factors and to directly reduce low level systematic inflammation.

Fatty tissue is linked with the production of proteins that cause inflammation, specifically when there is excess fatty tissue around the abdomen or organs. However, aerobic exercise can reduce the total of fat tissue around body and organs improving the management of systemic inflammation in the long term.

There is relationship between levels of physical fitness and levels of systemic inflammation – healthy individuals with greater aerobic fitness have lower levels of inflammation with age matched healthy individuals with lower fitness levels suggesting aerobic exercise to improve aerobic fitness is a key intervention to reduced systemic inflammation.

There is little evidence that resistance training alone has any short term effects on reducing systemic inflammation in people with low level persistent inflammation however can indirectly have an impact by addressing modifiable risk factors.

Resistance exercise improves cardiometabolic health, reduces the decline of age related disability, improves mental wellbeing and sleep quality which suggests it can be used as a strategy to reduce the risk for developing elevated levels of systemic inflammation.

Naturally our levels of systemic inflammation increase with age, the maintenance of fitness and physical activity is a key strategy to promote healthy ageing. Both aerobic and resistance training alone or in combination can significantly reduce elevations of systemic inflammation following a bout of exercise for 8-12 weeks for healthy elderly populations.

In contrast, exercise alone will not have a significant impact on reducing levels of systemic inflammation for elderly frail adults or peoples living with chronic health conditions.

Unfortunately these populations present with significantly elevated levels of systemic inflammation by up to 1000-fold when compared with healthy age matched individuals and therefore the reduction in inflammation following a bout of exercise will be insignificant. Although exercise may not have direct effects on inflammation in these populations there is an abundance of evidence to suggest tailored exercise programs can successfully treat and manage many health conditions and diseases.

There is a strong evidence to suggest that peoples living with elevated levels of systemic inflammation are at greater risk of developing numerous health conditions and disease. Majority of risk factors are centred around lifestyle and behaviours, exercise is a key strategy to manage risk factors for developing disease, promote healthy ageing and to enhance quality of life by directly reducing the impact of systemic inflammation in healthy young and elderly populations.

Evidence regarding the effects of exercise on populations with high levels of systemic inflammation from chronic health conditions is limited, however it is well known that tailored exercise interventions will have a direct impact on the management of disease and chronic health conditions even without any changes in levels of systemic inflammation.

Exercise is an easy strategy anyone can use to better manage their health, promote healthy ageing and live a better quality of life.

Want To Know More?

We’d suggest contacting our team at Precision Physio, so that we can help you with your individual case.

How Do I Book An Appointment?

We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call any of these numbers to schedule a session:

Online Consultations

Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help!

To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.

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