Illness Prevention

Overview

On average, every adult will experience the common cold or other similar infection approximately 2-4 times a year. However, those who are physically active will experience fewer bouts of illness, and when they do fall ill, their bodies will be able to fight the infection faster and they will experience less severe symptoms. Physical activity is known to be one of the main components of a healthy lifestyle, alongside a good diet and sleep pattern. It’s role in preventing chronic diseases is well-established, as well as the impact that physical activity has on the immune system.

Physical Activity & Illness Prevention

One way that physical activity can help boost your general health and prevent illness is through strengthening your immune system – a network of cells and proteins that defend your body against infection. Physical activity has been shown to increase the levels of antibodies within the blood and has an anti-inflammatory effect, which improves your chances of both or fighting off illnesses such as colds and flus. As well as improving the immune response to stave off infectious diseases, physical activity can also act as an effective medicine against long-term diseases, by reducing the common risk factors for chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, respiratory conditions, certain cancers and cardiovascular conditions.

The Benefits of Physical Activity for Illness Prevention

There are a variety of benefits that being physically active can provide to prevent illness and infection, including:

  • Boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of contracting viruses and other common infections
  • Reduces stress and chronic inflammation, which reduces the likelihood of subsequent infections developing
  • Increases the effectiveness of vaccinations
  • Lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of many cancers
  • Reduces the risk of all-cause mortality
  • Keeps the brain healthy and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

Optimising the level of physical activity in your usual daily routine can help to reduce the chances of contracting an illness, or can help you recover as quickly as possible when you do. There isn’t any single type of physical activity that’s best for everyone, but it is important to remember that every move matters, and even the small changes you make can help to improve your general health and strengthen your immune system.

KiActiv® for Illness Prevention

KiActiv® Health is a digital service that provides people with a personalised understanding of their everyday physical activity to empower behaviour change in the context of their health and capacity, enabling people to make the right choices for them.

Understanding how physical activity impacts the immune system as well as how it can reduce risk factors for many chronic diseases is key to self-management and reducing the risk of illness.

Crucial to this understanding is that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move you make counts. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure and, as such, it is important that all of the movement in our lifestyles are accounted for – not just exercise.

Indeed, for many people, physical activity is something that is often feared due to lack of confidence, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous. As such, understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matters, is vital for empowering effective self-management. So, for individuals on this programme, focusing on movements they enjoy or feel comfortable with is likely to result in sustained behaviour change.

Moving away from exercise to personalised, everyday physical activity is essential for illness prevention, as it opens the therapy window to ~112 hours/week. This can feel more accessible to everyone and this raised awareness and understanding of everyday physical activity is a key factor in increasing motivation to create healthier habits.

Here at KiActiv®, we have worked with many people to empower them to self-manage their health and improve their physical activity in a personalised way. As such, KiActiv® Health provides an accessible option for everyone.

Client Quotes

“A sense of achievement. Good overall sense of wellbeing. Getting out and about into the fresh air. Keeping me free from colds.” – Female, 65, Type 2 Diabetes

“Generally living a more healthy life because of the programme. It has given me a new understanding of physical activity.” – Male, 65, Type 2 Diabetes

“It has been a good experience learning how to improve my health” – Male, 59, Type 2 Diabetes

“it’s been small steps in the right direction, and I am determined to keep it up. Health wise I have felt so much better.” – Female, 66, Type 2 Diabetes

“It’s my life, it’s my health, you’re not asking me to paint a picture which I can’t do. All you’re asking me to do is put one foot in front of the other and move my arse. Anyone can do that.” – Female, 57, Lymphoedema