The anti-inflammatory effect of physical exercise

13 May 2021

The anti-inflammatory effect of physical exercise

The anti-inflammatory effect of physical exercise

Regular physical exercise alone offers a number of health benefits, having a protective effect against cancer, diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, heart failure, cardiac ischemia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Physical exercise, in addition to improving the lipidic profile and increasing lean mass (which are the best known for the aesthetic issue), also triggers an acute inflammatory process in response to the intensity of the exercise. This will result in the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines in the blood, as in the case of Interleukin10 (IL-10) and tumor necrosis alpha (TNF-α), which are also released in the repair of muscle cell damage.

However, obese people have higher inflammatory markers, possibly due to increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines from various tissues / cells, including adipose tissue macrophages, vascular endothelial cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

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Figures A (sepsis) and B (exercise) show the role of both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the first hours.

In figure A (sepsis - it is defined as a potentially fatal organ dysfunction resulting from the response to an infection) we observe a set of cytokines from TNF-, IL-1, IL-6, IL-1ra, TNF-R and IL-10.

Fig. A - Sepsis

The cytokine response to exercise - figure B - does not include TNF- and IL-1, but shows a marked increase in IL-6, which is followed by IL-1ra, TNF-R and IL-10.

Fig. B - Exercise

Therefore, in images A and B we can analyze the release of cytokines, producing anti-inflammatory responses.
Several studies show that inflammation markers decrease after long-term behavioral changes that include reduced energy intake and increased physical activity.

Exercise is, in effect, an essential approach for fat loss and muscle mass increase, consequently, it has this anti-inflammatory effect and minimizes the risk of developing chronic diseases and lowering chronic inflammatory states.

By Fábio Oliveira, Personal Trainer

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