HealthDay News — Just 20 minutes of moderate exercise may reduce inflammation in the body, according to research published online recently in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

Suzi Hong, PhD, an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues recruited 47 volunteers – a mostly white group of 26 males and 21 females – with an average age of 41. The researchers gave them blood tests before and after the study participants walked at a moderate speed on a treadmill for 20 minutes. 

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The investigators found a 5% decline in immune cells linked to inflammation. “Our study found one session of about 20 minutes of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a 5% decrease in the number of stimulated immune cells producing tumor necrosis factor,” Hong said in a university news release. “Knowing what sets regulatory mechanisms of inflammatory proteins in motion may contribute to developing new therapies for the overwhelming number of individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions, including nearly 25 million Americans who suffer from autoimmune diseases.”

The study findings suggest that “exercise doesn’t have to be tremendously hard for you to see health benefits from it,” Hong told HealthDay.

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