Moderate exercise helps fight inflammation

20 minutes on the treadmill can do you a world of good.

Think that just 20 minutes of exercise won’t do much for your health? Think again.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine have found that just even one exercise session of moderate intensity can act as an anti-inflammatory by stimulating the immune system and helping the body’s cells fight off inflammation.

The study

The study, published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, took 47 participants and had them walk on a treadmill at an intensity that matched their fitness levels.

After their blood was tested, the researchers found that the exercise resulted in an average five per cent decrease in the number of immune cells producing a protein called TNF, a key regulator of inflammation.    

“Each time we exercise, we are truly doing something good for our body on many levels, including at the immune cell level,” says senior author Suzi Hong, PhD.

“Our study shows a workout session doesn’t actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects. Twenty minutes to half-an-hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient. Feeling like a workout needs to be at a peak exertion level for a long duration can intimidate those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases and could greatly benefit from physical activity.”

These new findings may down the track help people with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes and obesity.


Dimitrov, S., Hulteng, E. and Hong, S. (2016.) ‘Inflammation and exercise: Inhibition of monocytic intracellular TNF production by acute exercise via β2-adrenergic activation.’ Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

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