No-one wants to get sick.
Strengthening your immune system is a smart move, particularly during a pandemic. Not only will you recover more quickly from infections: your body will also be better prepared to fight off future attacks.
By building a stronger immune system, you’ll be sick less often, you’ll have more energy, and this will allow you to spend more time doing the things which are important to you, with people you care for.
Here are 4 simple strategies you can use immediately, to help strengthen your immune system.
1. Move more
By this, we don’t mean ‘train more’!
We’re talking about the basics: things like getting your daily step-count up to between 7000-10000 will help you reduce stress.
Stress encourages (among other things) your body to produce higher levels of Cortisol and Adrenaline. This is actually a very positive reaction, as thousands of years ago, these hormones meant the difference between life and death. You saw a tiger, your body flooded your blood with them, and you ran away.
Nowadays, we face a different challenge. Firstly, we’re exposed to a lot more consistent stress than our ancestors, and secondly, we don’t move nearly as much (nature’s way of removing the hormones after the danger passes).
This puts a massive strain on our bodies and minds, and it inhibits our immune system. It really is fair to say, that stress is the killer.
For this reason, we recommend taking a daily walk, using your bike more often and generally doing more ‘on foot’.
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2. Sleep more
The fact that our ancestors’ bodies exposed them..
…to all manner of dangers (including tigers!) for 8 hours a night shows us how important sleep is to our survival. Don’t be fooled though: our bodies are EXTREMELY active while we sleep, repairing and reconstructing, and helping us get through the next day’s adventures.
Our thoughts and experiences are also sorted and stored when we sleep.
Our body’s production of many life-saving substances (including cytokines) are at their highest levels at night. Cytokines are important ‘messengers’ for our immune system and help us in the fight against a virus like Covid-19.
This just one of the reasons we recommend you try to go to bed at the same time each night, and aim for 8 hours sleep.
3. Eat the alphabet!
Start with Vitamins A and E, and then move all the way to Zinc!
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant.
Antioxidants ‘catch’ free radicals, harmful cells in your body, and this reduces your levels of oxidative stress. If free radicals are allowed to move around unchecked, it can lead to a host of illnesses, many of them degenerative and life-threatening.
Foods rich in vitamin C include broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Vitamin E (another antioxidant) protects the membrane (shell) of your cells. Without this protection, free radicals would destroy the shell and the cell would die. Sources of Vitamin E include wheatgerm oil, spinach and almonds.
After iron, zinc is the most abundant trace element and plays a key role in many vital biochemical processes, many specific to our immune system and hormonal well-being. Zinc is found in foods including meat, poppy-seeds and oatmeal.
4. Go all ‘Hot/Cold’
Showering hot and then cold can take some getting used to.
However, contrast-showering (as this practice is known) several times a week produces truly amazing results, when it comes to boosting your immune system.
By alternating between temperatures, your blood vessels contract and expand quickly and consistently. Your lymph flows faster, which allows it to expel pollutants from your body more quickly.
Here’s how to contrast-shower like a pro:
- Start with warm water on your right arm, then shower down to your waist, and then your right foot.
- Repeat the procedure on your left side.
- Shower each side for 30-60 seconds and complete the procedure 2-3 times.
Remember to only use temperatures you feel comfortable with to start. You can always make it hotter or colder as you get used to the extremes.
The bottom line
Start with one of these strategies, and make sure it’s one where you feel at least 90% confident that you can do it regularly. Begin at your own pace, as it makes no sense to put yourself under pressure, as that generates even more stress!
Do you find 7000 steps too much? No problem. Start with 5000 and increase that by 100 steps per day until you’re happy with your level. The same principle applies to your nutrition, your sleep and even contrast-showering.
It’s all about your well-being, so take it step-by-step.
Small, family-run gyms are seldom crowded, you’ve got your own space, and you’re part of a community where you’ll be supported and encouraged from the moment you contact them.
At Fit4TheGame, having fun while you exercise is always a priority, it never really feels like ‘having to workout. Instead, you’ll just be enjoying moving your body, with other good people, and each visit feels like the best part of your day!
Do you want to know how training at Fit4TheGame can help you achieve your fitness goal (and build a stronger immune system)?
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