Controversy alert today! If this year has taught us anything, it has been how important it is to be PROACTIVE and take charge of your personal HEALTH and HAPPINESS as much as possible. We have heard a lot about preventing the spread of illnesses this year, but one thing that we haven’t heard much about is strengthening your body’s natural defenses against illness.
I’ve got some science-backed info that you can take action on, starting today! You already know that a healthy, balanced diet of whole foods (vs. processed) that are low in sugar is good for you. And that keeping your routine steady – with enough sleep (7-8 hours a night) and not too much stress – is also good for your immune system.
Moving your body also plays a major role – and researchers are still figuring out all the reasons how and why it matters so much! Here are just a few…
- It can keep your body’s lymphatic system moving. This system is a huge part of your immune system, keeping all your disease-fighting white blood cells and antibodies flowing through your body, and helping to get rid of waste.
- Being physically active can flush invading bacteria out of your respiratory system, cutting your risk of getting sick.
- The slight increase in body temp caused by vigorous exercise might stop bacteria from growing, helping your body fight infection.
Also, exercise can reduce stress and help you sleep better! That’s great, but you might be wondering how to put it into action? Last year the Journal of Sport and Health Science published a roundup of studies into the link between exercise and the immune system.
* Acute exercise (defined as moderate-to-vigorous intensity that lasts less than an hour) is an important immune system booster, especially if you work out on a near-daily basis. This is like a brisk walk, jog, riding a bike, workout class, or quick weights session.
* Too much exercise (like an athlete prepping for a major event) OR if you work out hard while under a lot of other stress (not eating enough, traveling, too little sleep, etc.) can actually harm your immune system because it can overstress your system.
The takeaway? Definitely exercise most days of the week, but don’t do it too long or too intensely too often.