Having a strong immune system is important anytime, but it’s especially important during a pandemic.
Here’s what you can do to support your immune system and remain healthy.
Sticking to an exercise routine not only supports your immune system, but it also improves mood and helps you maintain a healthy weight and body composition.
If you’re concerned about your immune system functioning at optimal levels all of the time, especially if you’re at high risk, then it’s important to keep your exercise intensities at easy to moderate levels and not to push your workouts too much. Crushing a workout and pushing to high intensities all the time, especially for very long workouts, results in a drop in immune function. It’s ok to get some higher intensity in a workout, but if immune system function is a high concern for you, then make sure you’re ending your workouts feeling refreshed, not wiped out.
How can you exercise safely?
- Exercise everyday for at least 30 minutes.
- Get outside if you can do it safely so that you can get fresh air and sunshine.
If you live in an urban or suburban area where there are more people out enjoying parks and using the sidewalks, remember to follow the local rules and regulations. For more information, here are the CDC guidelines for visiting parks.
If you’re using a face mask but aren’t used to wearing one, it’s normal for it to feel uncomfortable at first. Getting used to wearing a mask is the biggest hurdle. It’s important to stay calm and not hyperventilate since this can lead to feeling faint or lightheaded. Remember that it’s safe to wear a mask while running and it won’t harm you. A buildup of humidity is normal and you’re still getting enough air to breath. If you find you’re breathing harder or feeling tired during your run, then slow down and adjust your pace.
Try different types of homemade masks, some materials are comfortable for walking around while others are more comfortable for running. We’ve found that using a buff or other type of wicking material is most comfortable and stays put while running. They’re also easy to clean after each use.
Don’t think of hydration as something you only have to worry about during the hot summer months. Hydration is important year round and plays a vital role in all bodily systems.
Get Enough Sleep
Quality sleep is important for your immune system and for your general health. To better your chances of getting a good night’s sleep:
- Stick to a routine and go to sleep at the same time every night
- Avoid blue light from computers and cell phones before going to sleep
- Exercise to help boost your immune system and to get a good night’s sleep
- Avoid caffeine later in the day
- Relax before going to bed with meditation, prayer, and a cup of herbal tea (like chamomile)
It’s impractical to say get rid of stress completely, but you can reduce it and learn to manage it so that it doesn’t take over.
To help keep your stress under control:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat enough fruits and vegetables
- Try slow, deep breaths and Yoga
- Meditate or Pray
- Laugh and have fun
- Get outside and enjoy nature
- Take a break from your computer and cell phone
Take Nutrition Seriously
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
This is a great quote and is no exaggeration. What you eat effects your health and wellness.
Eat a healthy diet that includes:
- Plenty of fruits and vegetable
(and make sure to eat those colorful ones)
- Enough protein
- Probiotics and prebiotics.
Gut health is linked to immune health, so keep your intestines happy with probiotic foods (like kimchi and yogurt) and prebiotics (like apples and garlic)
- Quality ingredients.
Don’t make a habit of eating fast food and overly processed foods. Choose minimally processed, natural, and organic whenever possible.
Get Fresh Air
Get outside everyday for fresh air and sunshine. While it may sound simple and old fashioned, the body does need this to remain healthy.
For more information on protecting yourself, the CDC recommends these guidelines.