It’s never been more important to make sure we stay fit and healthy! Steps such as washing your hands and avoiding touching your face is a good starting point, but supporting our immune system is vital as it is our defence against illness.
While there is no magic pill to prevent you from catching a virus, whether it’s a cold or the COVID-19 infection, there are lots of simple but really effective steps to support your immune system.
1.Fresh air and natural light
One of the best prevention steps for getting ill is simply getting fresh air and natural light! There is science to prove fresh air and sunlight works as far back as a century ago.
Back in 1918 when influenza was spreading around the world causing one of the most devastating pandemics, doctors of an open air hospital in Boston found that those treated outside recovered better than those treated indoors.
While the advice is to avoid social gatherings outside, it doesn’t stop you taking a walk on your own in a local park. Even 10 minutes fresh air and daylight has great benefits.
2.Sleep to your circadian rhythm
Without foundations your home would struggle to stand up and function.
It’s the same for you. And sleep is your foundation.
Many of the benefits you get from moving better, eating better and looking after yourself only take effect during sleep. Not only that, but your body literally regenerates your mental and physical health when you sleep.
Having trouble falling asleep? Having a schedule aligned to your circadian rhythm is the most important way to sleep like a baby;
- Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day
- No screens and relax 30 minutes before bed
- Get some natural daylight early in the day
3.Eat a variety of coloured plant foods
Vitamins and minerals are essential to keep your immune system in top shape.
However, many of us are deficient in key immune boosting nutrients such as vitamin C, magnesium, zinc and iron. The simple way to ensure you get nutrients is to consume different coloured whole plant foods; think ‘eat the rainbow’ and consume a variety of anti inflammatory legumes, nuts, seeds, fruit and veg.
Whole plant foods also have high water content which will help keep you hydrated and help the body to produce lymph, which carries white blood and other immune cells.
For a super simple guide on how to get critical nutrients and eat healthy check out my free 5 steps to thrive eating plant based download here.
4.Belly breathing through the nose
It’s perfectly normal to feel stressed and some stress in life is good. However, in uncertain times we tend to feel more stressed and anxious leading to us being in a constant state of fight or flight.
So we need to find a balance.
Breathing is one of the best ways to automatically put our nervous system in a relaxed rest and digest state rather than fight or flight.
But most of us breathe incorrectly.
Correct breathing should be through the nose as you inhale and exhale and it should be light and through the diaphragm (belly) instead of the chest. This is relaxing and ensures we are receiving more oxygen than if we were breathing through the mouth.
To help guide you through this please see breathe expert Patrick Mckeown’s fantastic two minute video here.
Movement is medicine.
Our bodies are designed to move in order to enhance our immune system and increase blood circulation. Moving increases lymphatic flow so if we don’t move around we cannot get rid of toxins.
But we live in an age where life is sedentary and movement is the 1 hour of ‘exercise’ we do at the gym 2-3 times a week.
Ideally we want to be moving more often throughout the day.
This doesn’t mean you have to run all day long!
Going for a couple of 20 minute daily walks is great and if you throw in a few bodyweight strength exercise workouts and you are most of the way there.
To get you started, check out my simple 10 minute home bodyweight circuit here.
If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them. Please reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.