It’s almost cold and flu season and you want to avoid the sniffles this year. Not only is being sick uncomfortable and nauseating, but it also takes you away from precious time with family and friends. Your immune system is the powerful line of defense against viruses and germs that cause sicknesses. Wouldn’t it be amazing to supercharge it to ward off diseases this year?
Boosting this internal system is all about harmony. When all of your body’s other systems are in balance, the immune system has the full capacity to battle viruses and disease-carrying microorganisms. Therefore, to boost immunity, you must promote your overall health. Explore these six lifestyle upgrades to strengthen your immune system to its complete protective potential.
Create an Exercise Routine
Movement is crucial for a balanced lifestyle and boosted immune system. If you can, try a moderate routine for 60 minutes a day. The combination of consistency and rigor teaches your metabolic and immune systems to build their strength and tenacity.
Moderately rigorous routines could include a circuit training exercise with periods of running and walking. For example, a beginner could start with 30-second sprints punctuated by one minute of walking. Running is also excellent for cardiovascular health and lowering blood pressure. As your body builds its tenacity, the more you can go without feeling fatigued.
For those with joint issues or little access to safe sidewalks, at-home bodyweight training strengthens your muscles without ever leaving the living room. Alternatively, you can seek out a fitness class to engage with others and learn the proper form. A long, leisurely walk with your dog will also do the trick. Getting your body moving in a consistent routine will provide that balance for your immune system to fight off illness.
After your workout, make sure to drink lots of water to refuel the body and regulate your internal systems. The lymphatic system is a key player in immunity and controlling fluid in the body and it needs water in order to flow. The same idea extends to blood.
Your body loses water throughout the day, but especially so during a workout. Ensure you promise smooth flow of the lymphatic and urinary systems by hydrating.
The recommended water consumption is not one size fits all. Everyone has different factors that need consideration, such as pregnancy, weight, age and lifestyle. Check out a water intake calculator to prepare your water bottles for a healthy, hydrated day.
3. Consume More Vitamin C and Antioxidants
How about a nice afternoon snack? Your diet has much to do with a boosted immune system. Vitamin C can increase white blood cell production — the star players against invading viruses. Luckily, fruits are rich in vitamin C. Delicious, sweet and nutritious, citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are the perfect addition to any meal.
Some other antioxidant powerhouse foods are green vegetables, tomatoes, kidney beans, coffee and dark chocolate. While they might not be tasty all mixed together, include a hearty selection in your weekly meals.
4. Seek Stress Relief
There are many paths to strengthen your immune system, but not every step needs to be completed at once. It’s essential to take a deep breath and relax. In fact, stress relief is another way to boost immunity.
Excessive stress keeps you up at night tossing and turning. You may be thinking about that work presentation, the paper due next week or dreaded bills. Without proper sleep, the immune system cannot guard your defenses fully. Anxiety also leads you to avoid other healthy practices like exercise and eating clean.
If your anxiety is debilitating to everyday life, make an appointment with a therapist or your doctor to discuss treatment. In the meantime, explore calming exercises like deep breathing, meditation and stretching. Treating yourself to a soothing massage can target deep tissue or tight muscles and release stress stored in the body. You can find a healthier body and mindset by cultivating a more peaceful lifestyle.
5. Cut Out Bad Habits
This list covers a variety of trends you can start doing in your daily life, but what about habits you should cut out of your routines? For one, smoking is detrimental to overall immune health. By now, warnings about nicotine and smoke inhalation are common in everyday culture. However, not many people know smoking weakens the ability of white blood cells to fight diseases. Combined with the list of lung issues that frequently arrive with smoking, this is a recipe for a long-term illness.
Quitting smoking goes beyond the initial decision to stop. Seek professional guidance or therapy to wean your body off of the addiction and take back your clear breaths of air.
Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption does not aid the immune system. Ultimately, alcohol impairs your body’s ability to communicate with other systems, particularly the microorganisms in the gut.
You need gut health to strengthen your immune system as it houses healthy bacteria and ensures your tissue is not targeted by the defending white blood cells. Like smoking, people suffering from alcohol abuse should seek professional help on their road to recovery.
6. Rest Easy
At the end of a long day of balancing your body’s internal systems, a well-deserved rest awaits you. Deep sleep allows the body to recharge and heal itself overnight. As you sleep, the immune system releases cytokines that target infections and inflammation. Without the proper eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, you may not be producing enough cytokines and antibodies to protect your body.
Consider setting a bedtime timer to ensure you are nestled under the sheets by a particular time. Even if you are still awake and reading or playing video games, your placement in bed allows the body to begin its drift into dreamland.
Boost Immunity Today
Everybody would like to travel through the flu season without succumbing to the dreaded sniffles and sickness. Even if you practice all healthy routines, there are some viruses that can sneak into your body’s defenses. Sadly, there is no foolproof way to avoid sickness. However, by nourishing your body with healthy practices, you uplift the immune system to its greatest ability.