Physical activity fights against inflammation, and the more you do it, the more it decreases.
Running, swimming, biking, tennis … Physical activity has many benefits, especially because it helps reduce inflammation. An article in the European Journal of investigation explains how physical exercise works.
The longer it is, the better
Chronic inflammation is linked to all kinds of diseases including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. But when muscles work, muscle cells release interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-10 (IL-10), two mediators playing an important role in the fight against inflammation.
Il-6 and IL-10 act both by decreasing the levels of TNF-alpha protein, itself causing inflammation in the body but also by inhibiting the signaling effects of the interleukin-1-beta protein which causes inflammation and damages the pancreas cells.
According to the authors of the article, longer the duration of physical activity, the greater the amount of IL-6 released-the first cytokine detectable during physical activity is important. For example, after a 30 minute workout, IL-6 level can be multiplied by 5 while after a marathon it can increase by a factor of 100. The level of IL-6 increases until the end of the physical activity session and then decreases rapidly to return to the level of prior physical exercise.
Interleukins 6 and 10 are not the only molecules involved in the anti-inflammatory effect of physical activity. For example, studies have shown regular exercise increases the level of interleukin-15 in muscle cells. However, IL-15 reduces the accumulation of abdominal fat, which itself promotes inflammation. By reducing abdominal fat, physical exercise therefore fights against inflammation.
“Physical activity represents a natural method for combating inflammation and improving metabolism should be part of the treatment of people with chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease,” concludes the article. In practice, chronic inflammation can be reduced from 20 minutes of walking. If you’re not athletic but you want to get on with it, we can progressively intensify the rhythm of the outings, of sports sessions from 15 to 40 minutes of running at slow pace (30 minutes to 2 hours biking (or 10 to 20 minutes of running time (20 minutes to 1 hour) with a steady pace.