Skip to content

Inflammation and Exercise: How Physical Activity Impacts Inflammatory Response

When you think of exercise, you likely envision its benefits, like muscle building, weight management, and improved mental health. However, there’s an often-overlooked advantage that deserves attention—its impact on inflammation. Understanding the interplay between physical activity and inflammation and the role of natural supplements like tart cherry extract can be a game changer.

The Basics of Inflammation

First, let’s clarify what inflammation really is. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect itself against harm. There are two main types: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation arises from injuries like a sprained ankle, manifesting as redness, heat, swelling, and pain.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is more insidious and can linger undetected, contributing to various diseases like arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.  Chronic inflammation serves no useful purpose for humans and is simply a byproduct of modern life.

Exercise and Its Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Engaging in regular physical activity is one of the best ways to combat chronic inflammation. Moderate exercise helps release anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body. For example, aerobic activities like walking, swimming, or cycling can significantly lower levels of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) over time. 

Regular exercise also protects against dementia and chronic diseases and, contrary to popular belief, isn’t generally the best activity for weight loss. Exercise will acutely stimulate adaptive inflammation, and this is a good thing.  However, over time it provides control mechanisms to reduce the damage from chronic inflammation.  

Tart Cherry Extract: A Natural Booster

While exercise is crucial in managing inflammation, incorporating certain natural supplements can enhance these benefits. Tart cherry extract, for instance, is gaining popularity for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. We have offered this for years due to its amazing features.  This extract, derived from sour Montmorency cherries, is rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, which have been shown to reduce inflammation levels comparable to some well-known medications.

A study focusing on obesity, a known risk factor for heart disease, explored the beneficial effects of tart cherries on heart health. In this research, obese rats were fed a high-fat diet to simulate conditions similar to diet-induced obesity in humans. The study then compared the impact of different diets on these rats, particularly looking at diets supplemented with tart cherry seed powder and tart cherry juice. 


The findings were significant: rats consuming tart cherry products showed marked improvements in heart health. Notably, there was a reduction in heart cell enlargement and oxidative stress—a type of cell damage associated with fat-rich diets. Additionally, the tart cherry supplements decreased levels of inflammation in the heart, as evidenced by lower levels of inflammatory proteins and molecules that cause cells to stick together, which are often elevated in heart disease. This suggests that including tart cherry in the diet could help counteract inflammation and improve heart health.


Another study examined the effects of tart cherry juice on older adults, specifically its role in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, which contribute to cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. Over 12 weeks, participants aged 65 to 80 drank either 480 mL of tart cherry juice daily or a control drink. The results were promising: those who drank the tart cherry juice had lower systolic blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. (Bear in mind, we never advocate for drinking juices due to the high levels of fructose in them.)  


Important markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in the blood, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and malondialdehyde (MDA), showed significant decreases. This indicates that tart cherry juice not only helps lower risk factors for heart disease but also supports the body’s ability to repair damage at the cellular level, particularly in DNA repair linked to oxidative stress. This despite the fructose.  Therefore, harnessing the power of tart cherries without the fructose would stand to provide enhanced benefits.

Incorporating Tart Cherry Extract into Your Routine

Dr. Meredith Warner formulated Tart Cherry Extract as part of her Well Theory line of supplements to help you age well, reduce your pain, and potentially extend your lifespan. It is packed with polyphenols and anthocyanins that are vital for inflammation and pain reduction.

Tart cherry is a powerful antioxidant that targets the same inflammation receptors as over-the-counter pain relievers minus the dangerous side effects. It contains 1,500mg of pure tart cherry extract, offers natural relief from pain and inflammation, and helps support post-workout recovery. 


Combining regular physical activity with natural supplements like tart cherry extract can provide a powerful one-two punch against chronic inflammation. This holistic approach not only helps manage existing inflammation-related issues but also prevents future health complications. This combination isn’t just about fighting inflammation—it’s about fostering a healthier, more vibrant life.

Dr. Meredith Warner challenges the traditional orthopedic approach to joint, bone, tendon, and ligament pain in her new book, Bone on Bone An Orthopedic Surgeon’s Guide to Avoiding Surgery and Healing Pain Naturally. The book is now on sale! Get your personalized, autographed copy.
Dr. Meredith Warner Baton Rouge Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Meredith Warner is the creator of Well Theory and The Healing Sole. She is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Air Force Veteran.

She is on a mission to disrupt traditional medicine practices and promote betterment physically, spiritually and mentally to many more people. She advocates for wellness and functional health over big pharma so more people can age vibrantly with more function and less pain.

At Well Theory, Our surgeon-designed products are FDA Registered and formulated to help people:

  • Manage the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain
  • Recover vibrantly from orthopedic related surgeries
  • Fill the gaps in our daily diets
  • Manage pain associated with inflammation