As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, many people are looking for ways to bolster their immune systems. However, knowing how to boost your immune system can keep you healthy all year round, pandemic or not!
When your immune system is healthy, you don’t get sick very often. When you do become ill, you recover relatively quickly. When your immune system is not operating properly, though, you can become repeatedly ill and take a long time to recover.
Now, it’s vital to note that even the most robust immune system fails to keep infections out all the time. No matter how healthy your immune system is, make sure to follow all the usual safety precautions to prevent catching an illness, like washing your hands and disinfecting high-touch areas regularly.
What Does the Immune System Do?
First, though, let’s talk about what the immune system does so we can understand the best ways to take care of it.
In general, your immune system keeps you healthy by fighting off viruses, bacteria, and infections. It does this by releasing white blood cells and antibodies when it identifies a foreign invader.
The immune system is more of a network than a linear system. It includes the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, bone marrow, the skin, and the gut. Your immune system runs throughout your entire body, distributing cells that attack invaders and protect you from infections.
5 Ways to Improve Your Immune Health
Clearly, there are many different elements involved in the immune system. Therefore, it’s important to take a full-body approach to boost your immune system.
You can do these five things to build a stronger immune system.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Around 70 percent of the immune system is stored in the gut. So, if your gut isn’t healthy, the rest of you won’t be either.
Focus on eating unprocessed foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. In addition to being easy to digest, these foods are naturally packed with the vitamins you need to stay healthy. Avoid processed foods, which can lead to inflammation and reduce your gut health.
- Stay active
We all know moving is good for your heart and waistline. It can also help you stay healthy. Exercising improves circulation, ensuring that all your cells get to travel throughout your body. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day.
Of course, if you are feeling very ill, take the time to rest. Exercising when you’re sick can prolong your recovery time and lead to worse problems, like dehydration.
- Get enough sleep
Sleep is an essential part of recovering. As you sleep, your immune system releases protective proteins called cytokines. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body won’t make as many cytokines. The number of antibodies and infection-fighting cells your body produces also decreases when you’re sleep-deprived. Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep at night.
- Try to de-stress
We know these are stressful times. Unfortunately, living with chronic stress can take a toll on your immune system. When you’re stressed for an extended period, your body exhibits a stress response, which lowers your lymphocyte levels and makes you more susceptible to getting sick.
Find ways to de-stress, like reading a good book, going for a walk, or meditating. We know you’re busy, but it’s essential to find time every day to let your mind and body relax and de-stress.
- Try yoga
Yoga is an excellent low-impact form of exercise that can improve your flexibility and circulation while raising your heart rate.
At the same time, yoga focuses on breathing, which is essential for staying healthy. Deep breathing from your diaphragm can naturally lower your stress levels and improve circulation. Make your yoga practice more comfortable with yoga balancing pads and yoga foam wedge pads from StrongTek.
Stay Healthy with StrongTek
At StrongTek, we’re concerned about your health and wellbeing. That’s why we’re committed to offering products that can help you stay active during all stages of your life.
Visit the Strong Tek Fitness Academy for more ideas on how you can stay active and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.