Being sick is no fun. (True, this is hardly a hot take, but we just wanted to put it out there.)
Whether it’s the thick of standard cold and flu season, a nasty stomach bug working its way through your kiddo’s school, a unique moment like the coronavirus pandemic, or just a normal day when you don’t feel like being under the weather, there are some measures you can take to prevent illness… so you may have more control than you think.
It all comes down to a strong immune system.
If you’re looking for info on how to boost your immune system and stay healthy, you’ve come to the right place. Nutrition, at-home workouts, good hygiene, nutrition tips, and food safety can all make a difference.
But first thing’s first…
Why is it so important to preserve your immune system, anyway?
Let’s take it to the experts for some basic details.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI):
The immune system plays a vital role of protecting your body from harmful substances, germs, and cell changes that can make you sick.
The interesting thing about your immune system is that if it’s working properly, you don’t really have to think about it much. It’s only when it’s not running well that it becomes a concern… which is why you tend to wonder how to boost your immune system in the first place.
The immune system fights disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites and works to get them out of your body, but it must first be able to recognize those harmful substances. It also fights changes in your body that might cause disease from within, like cancer cells.
How does your immune system work?
So antigens, which can be bacteria, viruses, or fungi, are any substance that stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies.
Antibodies, you might also hear them referred to as immunoglobulins, are Y-shaped molecule proteins manufactured by the body that help fight against foreign substances, the antigens.
Antigens attach to special receptors on immune cells and the cells jump into action to keep you as healthy as possible!
Over time, your immune cells can learn how to better and more efficiently fight various antigens, which is why you can build immunity to various bacteria and viruses throughout your life.
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Why do you need to know how to boost your immune system?
So your body can more quickly and effectively recognize dangerous outside substances and fight them!
The stronger your immune system, the better prepared those immune cells will be to ward off viruses, bacteria, and other antigens so you can stay in the game, keep up with your busy schedule and family, and stick with your workout routine.
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Ask and you shall receive!
There are many things you can do to boost your immune system. Here are a few…
#1) Exercise & Physical Activity
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are several theories that point to the importance of working out for a healthy immune system. For one, physical activity can flush bacteria out of your lungs and airways, which can reduce your chance of catching an illness. It may also get immune cells circulating more quickly throughout your body, which may help them identify potential danger faster.
A good full body workout has also been proven to slow down the release of stress hormones, and since stress can increase the chance of illness, this can only be a good thing for your immune system.
While exercise is one answer to the question of how to boost your immune system, experts don’t want you to overdo it! Per the U.S. National Library of Medicine, you shouldn’t exercise more just to increase your immunity.
Get your body moving regularly by going for walks with your family, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and parking your car just a little further than necessary at the store. You can also step up your exercise game by adding arm workouts, running, or biking to your routine.
If you’re concerned about preserving your immunity, working out at home is a great solution since it gives you all the advantages of exercise without the risk of germs or bacteria that can come with being in a gym or studio. An at-home yoga workout, for example, might be just the thing to help you boost your immune system from the comfort of your own space.
If you want to give at-home yoga workouts a try, consider checking out classes with Bulldog Online. There are classes aimed at everyone from beginners to experts, so there’s no excuse not to give it a shot.
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#2) Watch Your Nutrition
It might seem to you that nutrition tips can offer a fix for everything… and boosting your immune system is no exception! According to the National Institutes of Health, nutrition is a critical element of building a strong immune system. Poor nutrition is, in fact, the leading cause of low immunity worldwide.
Are you considering how to boost your immune system? Start in the kitchen.
Vitamin C is very important for strong immunity. Eat plenty of citrus fruits, papaya, and red bell peppers to maximize your vitamin C intake. Pick up some broccoli, kiwi, garlic, ginger, and spinach from the produce aisle, too! Turmeric, green tea, poultry, sunflower seeds, and shellfish are also proven to boost your immune system.
No one’s saying you shouldn’t eat that delicious chocolate — just balance it out with these other items for a stronger immune system.
#3) Practice Good Hygiene
According to Harvard Health,
The first line of defense to keep germs at bay is following good hygiene habits.
Be consistent with washing your hands after you use the bathroom, covering your mouth or nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and carefully cleaning all cuts and injuries.
All of these hygiene habits are examples of how to boost your immune system, but they’ll also prevent the spread of germs to others.
It’s also important to be hygienic about the way you work with food, per Harvard Health. Wash your hands before and after handling raw food, rinse meats and produce under running water before eating them, cook foods to the proper temperature, and defrost frozen foods only in the microwave or refrigerator.
#4) Try to Travel Safe
Most of the time, traveling involves putting yourself in places and situations where there are large crowds. Airports, train stations, amusement parks, tourist destinations — they’re all absolutely full of people! Even a road trip with people you know and love puts you in close contact with humans that you normally would have some distance from.
Boost your immune system while you’re on the go by practicing safe travel habits. Carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently and do your research about any extra health measures you may need to take in order to safely enjoy your destination.
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#5) Make Sure to Get Your Rest
The Sleep Foundation notes the importance of getting plenty of sleep for maintaining a strong immune system. Sleep itself might not prevent you from getting sick, but if you want to know how to boost your immune system, prioritizing consistent shut-eye can make a difference.
Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep during cold and flu season, especially, has been proven to fend off those annoying viruses.
We may not be able to guarantee that these tips will prevent you from getting sick, like, ever again, but experts have proven their ability to boost your immune system and keep you as healthy as possible. And that’s how we like you!
Start Boosting Your Immune System with At-Home Fitness