Life in the Time of Lockdown
We live in strange times. We have a virus raging across the world that makes easy targets of those with a weak immune system; and the stress from the repercussions weakens our immune system further. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be overcome by bolstering our immune response, thus lowering our chances of getting sick.
The difficulty with that, is that the immune system is a ‘system” not a single entity. To function well, it needs balance and harmony. Researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response; but In the meantime, general healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.
What if you improve your diet? Take certain vitamins or herbal preparations? Make other lifestyle changes in the hope of producing a near-perfect immune response?
Diet and your immune system
Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies — for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E — may alter immune responses. taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may bring other health benefits, beyond any possibly beneficial effects on the immune system. There is nothing like good, old fashioned food, however, and with the added advantage of you see what you get.
Stress and immune system
For one thing, stress is difficult to define. What may appear to be a stressful situation for one person is not for another. When people are exposed to situations they regard as stressful, it is difficult for them to measure how much stress they feel, and difficult for the scientist to know if a person’s subjective impression of the amount of stress is accurate. The scientist can only measure things that may reflect stress, such as the number of times the heart beats each minute, but such measures also may reflect other factors.
they try to study more constant and frequent stressors known as chronic stress, such as that caused by relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, or sustained challenges to perform well at one’s work.
Exercise and the immune system
Exercise has a powerful effect on your immune system, but it’s not true that the more exercise you do, the better you can fight off sickness. In fact, exercising too much is just as bad as not exercising at all when it comes to immunity. Ask anyone who joins the gym and is flat with the ‘gym-flu’ in week two.
Your risk of catching a cold or the flu or developing an infection goes down if you exercise the right way. But if you exercise for too long a period of time, your risk goes right back up. In fact, your risk shoots up higher than if you did nothing at all.
In one study, researchers divided mice into two groups. One group rested in their cages. The other ran on little treadmills until they were exhausted. After three days, all the mice were exposed to the flu virus. The mice that ran until they were exhausted came down with the flu more often and had worse symptoms than the couch potato mice.
Intense Workouts Suppress The Body’s Immune System
The reason for this is simple: your body interprets long periods of exercise as stress.
What should I do for my immune system to be functioning at its best?
Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
1. Eat healthy
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
Maintain a healthyweight.
2. Live clean
Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
Maintain good hygiene – not just in these times, but regularly.
3. Move regularly
Exercise regularly at a moderate level. Focus on strength and flexibility, rather than on ‘Losing weight’
Rest enough between workout sessions
4. Laugh more, Stress less
Watch your favourite comedy shows
Spend time on a creative activity that energises you and lowers stress
Drink loads of fluids, herbal infusions and detox water
If you drink alcohol (and you can access it), drink only in moderation.
Reduce your exposure to social media to less than an hour per day.
Separate from toxic influences and people.
What about a specific diet or workout plan that boosts the immune system?
Don’t worry, we have you covered. Here is a full diet, mindset & workout plan to get you through this lockdown, and beyond. It needs no special ingredients or equipment, and is curated so that you can just pick your level and get started.
What if I don’t feel like working out? This environment is a bit depressing.
Being stuck at home, and the uncertain future if a definite downer, and I don’t blame you if you don’t feel like moving from your couch at all. I promise, though, that showing up is the hardest part, and once you’ve overcome that, the rest is easy-breezy!
If you’re still facing a challenge motivating yourself to get started, consider taking my help with it here.
What about my food cravings – I just want to eat junk.
We become what we eat, and though I understand that eating is comfort for a lot of us, perhaps some diversionary tactics to reduce the amount of cravings etc that you experience could help cut calories from your diet and boost your overall health as well.
That’s all you need, folks! When faced with uncertainty, the best we can do is be prepared. The outcome is not in our hands, but the preparation definitely is.
This too, shall pass. When it does, we will have overcome, and come out even stronger than before!
Wishing you all love, light and healing!
Weight Manangement Specialist