movement is medicine

Immune Support #7: Movement is medicine! In his latest post 5 Ways that Exercise Supports Immune Function, my friend and colleague Darryl Edwards writes:

Research shows that physical activity diminishes the risk of contracting a range of upper and lower respiratory tract viral and bacterial infections.

And in fact, physical activity is fundamental to every aspect of being human… we were born to move:

For the vast majority of our evolutionary history, humans had to exert ourselves – often quite strenuously – to get food. We naturally spent a lot of time outdoors in the sun, walking, hunting, gathering, and performing various other physically-oriented tasks. We had no concept of this as “exercise” or “working out”.  It was just life.

Chris Kresser

Picture the long days in nature, just being human. No worries. No mortgages, no credit cards, no traffic jams, no office desks, no computers, no ‘devices’, no pollution, no newspapers.

Back then, not only was life simpler and far less stressful – now, our modern life not only chronically stresses our body, it keeps us chronically sedentary and sitting still all day long.

Movement IS medicine

Lack of physical activity has a huge impact on our health and our physical, psychological and emotional resilience. Moving regularly not only protects us from disease, it prevents oxidative damage and inflammation – the primary mechanisms underlying heart disease and most modern, degenerative diseases.

And there is now is overwhelming evidence to show us that movement and regular exercise directly supports our immune function too.

Reset your digestive strength

Movement is absolutely critical for the proper functioning of our lymphatic system, although it’s part of our circulatory system, unlike the heart our lymphatic system has no central ‘pump’ – so it depends primarily on our moving our skeletal muscles to transport the lymph fluid around the body to ensure efficient lymphatic drainage. Why is this important?

Well, the lymphatic system – which comprises a series of ‘drains’ around our body – is intimately involved in our ability to detox well. Because lymph fluid starts in the digestive system – resetting our digestive strength (with optimum nutrition from real foods) and moving our body regularly resets our natural detox pathways.

Darryl, an expert in natural movement and movement as medicine, highlights the ways in which exercise directly supports immune function, by:

  • promoting mechanisms that protect against infectious diseases – such as increased T cell mobilisation
  • shortening our recovery time.
  • reducing chronic inflammation (‘inflammageing’).
  • improving the ability of our immune system to seek and destroy infected cells (immunosurveillance).
  • reducing associated fatigue.
  • improving our sleep quality, supporting mental health and helping to reduce unnecessary psychological stress.
  • keeping our immune system ‘young’ reducing the impact of the increased likelihood of infection as we age (immunosenescence)

I encourage you to read Darryl’s full article and dive into some of the underlying research. In the present circumstances and to create resilient health you deserve, movement has never been more important.

So please (responsibly) MOVE IT!

Darryl Edwards is a former investment banking technologist turned movement coach and author. He is the founder of the Primal Play Method and a physical activity, health and play researcher.

He regularly presents as a keynote and motivational speaker at academic, clinical, health promotion and corporate events worldwide. Darryl’s April 2019 TED talk “Why working out isn’t working out” discussing the issues with physical inactivity and why most humans hate to exercise—has now been viewed over 600,000 times!

Darryl resides in London, England and publishes about living a healthy, playful lifestyle at PrimalPlay.com.


Our risk for contracting communicable diseases like the Covid-19 virus increases when our immune system is weak and a weakened immune system is largely the result of a less-than-optimal diet and an unsupportive lifestyle.

Even as we are experiencing this current crisis, we are also seeing underlying epidemics of chronic diseases of every kind – diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, degenerative, digestive and autoimmune disorders across the globe. These conditions too, are largely diet and lifestyle-driven and they are preventable.

We need to act now

We have robust science to show us that what we eat has never been more important for our health and, because all life is inextricably connected, for our planet. The Real Food Solution will help you to discover the power of real food as medicine for better health.. for you and for our planet.

Crises like Covid-19 are a test our humanity… let’s stop queuing up for loo rolls and start creating a strong, resilient foundation of immune health… together.

Stay safe, stay informed and get empowered, Izabella.

Order your copy today!

The Real Food Solution front cover

Izabella Natrins

I'm here to inspire and support women at midlife and beyond to re-ignite purpose and meaning to take back control of their health and create the radical, resilient heath they want and deserve. As a whole-health expert with over 30 years experience in the field, a qualified Health and Wellness Coach and Ballymaloe-trained nutritional chef, my real food nutrition and lifestyle medicine programmes support women fighting fatigue, struggling with overwhelm, weight gain, sleep, energy and niggling or multiple diagnosed health issues. As an advocate for real food nutrition, regenerative agriculture and whole-health, my book 'The Real Food Solution' is an evidence-based treasury wisdom for energy, vitality and better health for people and planet and a call to action to change the way we grown, source and cook our food. As the CEO at The UK Health Coaches Association, I'm proud to continue the task of leading the first professional association for Health and Wellness Coaches in the world and the gold standard for the UK and Ireland.

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