How To Improve Your Immune System With Running

by Jai Sappal

With lockdown in full swing right now, it’s difficult to get to the gym or to go play a footy match. One could say it’s illegal right now. But naturally, people will still want to get some exercise and an easy way to do that, while staying within the limits of restrictions, is to take up running!

Running is amazing for your body. It can be fun, rewarding and its healthy for you as well. This article is to show how by running you can boost your immune system to further encourage people to continue this newfound activity (for some).

What does your immune system do?

Your immune system is like a super cool looking knight that acts like your personal guardian. It keeps harmful stuff out of your body and keeps you running smoothly. However, it’s not invulnerable, and when it gets overrun, you get sick. Your immune system is made of cells, proteins, and organs that all act to fight germs like bacteria, viruses (yep, Coronoviruses included), parasites and fungi. It also neutralises harmful substances from the environment, and fights disease processes from forming in the first place such as cancer (1). It is therefore vital for your survival to keep your immune system in top shape.

Benefits of running on the body

Running has many benefits and assists the body to:

  • Improve bone strength
  • Strengthen Muscles
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness
  • Improve metabolism
  • Improve body weight
  • It helps to prevent disease processes like:
    • Obesity
    • Hypertension
    • Type 2 Diabetes
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Cancer
    • Disability
    • Respiratory Diseases

How does running help the immune system?

First and foremost, here is the outcome from research that came out in 2020 regarding COVID-19 and running. COVID-19 likes to try and infect your lower airways. Your body’s response to try and combat the incoming virus is to send fighting agents (called antibodies). If these get overwhelmed, the virus takes over the whole system, causing you to get sick. Doing physical activity and exercise promotes better movement of these agents, allowing them to target the virus quicker. Thus, increasing your body’s ability to fight the virus, if you contract it, by improving your fitness level. Of course, considering how new this virus is to the world, more research still needs to be done (4).

Exercise also helps with inflammatory response, however if done too much/too rigorously, exercise can actually hinder the repair process and immune response. And so, it is important to find that “Goldilocks Zone” for physical activity and recovery,  running included (5). Running can also improve your gut bacteria, improve the effects of ageing by positively influencing the immune system and modulating atherosclerosis (5).

Moderate intensity exercise can also enhance immune function, reduces stress on the body and increases the efficiency of how energy stores around the body is used. This can effectively reduce the risk for inflammatory diseases and will also make your body’s ability to fight infection/stress off much better (6).


We know a lot of you are taking up running because of the current COVID-19 situation. We want you to know you have our support and if you do have any issues while running, it is much better to get them sorted sooner rather than later. Running related injuries have a nasty habit of persisting if you keep continuing with them without intervention, so even if it is a seemingly small twinge you’re feeling, come get an assessment from us so we can get you back to running sooner, so you can also keep that Immune System running right!



Jai Sappal
Peak Health Services.

Related articles: The Two Mistakes That Every Runner Makes