Oxidative stress and sport

Physical exercise produces positive effects on our immune system, since it keeps our immune system in top shape to fight any external agent and reduce the probability of contracting a cold, flu or other pathology.

However, several studies confirm that high-intensity physical exercise can cause oxidative stress, mainly in people who are not used to this type of activity.

What is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress occurs when we cannot counteract with our antioxidant defense mechanisms the oxidizing agents (free radicals) produced in a given situation: pathology, viral infection, high-intensity physical exercise, etc. It is a natural process of imbalance of the physiological mechanisms of our body that leads to cellular oxidation.

What are the causes of oxidative stress?
There are several causes that produce oxidative stress, such as aging, viral and bacterial infections and different pathologies. In addition, another cause is the execution of high intensity physical exercise and vigorous physical activity, since, during this practice, oxygen consumption is increased above normal in order to cover the high energy rates.

What are the consequences of oxidative stress?
The consequences of oxidative stress are mainly the acceleration of aging and constant muscle fatigue.

The practice of moderate physical exercise, and following healthy and balanced dietary guidelines are the key to good health and an immune system in top form to combat this oxidative stress.

Is sport healthy?
Sport is healthy and brings multiple benefits to our immune system. However, several studies confirm that high-intensity physical exercise can produce oxidative stress, mainly in people who are not used to this type of activity, since, as we have seen, high-intensity physical exercise can produce cellular oxidation.
What is the ideal intensity in the practice of sport?
We differentiate two intensities in physical activity:

Low intensity sport
The practice of low-intensity sports requires a moderate effort, patently accelerating the heart rate to a calm rhythm.

High intensity sport
It demands a high amount of effort by stimulating a substantial increase in heart rate and rapid breathing.
Physical activity is directly related to maintaining health and the proper functioning of the immune system.

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