Boost your immune system through exercise
We are living in a new world where terms such as social distancing, lockdown, shelter in place and flattening the curve are all part of our lexicon. COVID-19 is global, effecting all races, socioeconomic status and mostly all ages. However, the aging population is at higher risk for developing serious complications.
Your first line of defense
The immune system is an intricate response system that even science is continually studying, as it is not fully understood. Your first line of defense is to follow a healthy lifestyle.
- Do not smoke
- Diet high in fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation
- Get adequate sleep
- Wash hands frequently
- Minimize stress
We are living in a stressful time where many of our most common de-stressors have been removed – time with family and community, traditional forms of exercise and spiritual venues. Stay connected through technology or your phone. Schedule regular calls or video chats with loved ones. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, please go to camh.ca for great advice and resources.
Current challenges at the time of writing are that gyms and some outdoor spaces are closed. Even when they reopen, some of us may be understandably nervous to go back to the social life we lived before.
The benefits of exercise
One of the best ways to combat stress is through exercise, as it:
- Lowers your body’s stress hormones and blood pressure
- Improves sleep quality, mood, and feelings of well being
- Increases strength to perform tasks of daily life, thereby increasing confidence and safety
- Studies support increasing circulation through exercise the immune system functions more readily
When exercising at home, motivation is a challenge:
- Set a schedule, same time every day
- List your goals and follow up
- Have a workout calendar
- Play upbeat music, no TV
- Vary between cardiovascular and resistance training
- Download an app specifically for a mature population or explore YouTube for follow-along videos such as Pocket Yoga, Pilates-Lumowell, Tai Chi for Seniors or Workout Trainer.
All exercises should be reviewed online for proper form. Never start a new workout routine against your doctor’s advice.
DAY ONE: Cardiovascular focus (go at a pace that gets the heart rate up but allows for you to speak): 20 repetitions x 4 cycles through:
- Alternating side reaches with squat between
- Alternating knee to elbow
- Squat floor-to-ceiling reach
- High knee standing march
- Air boxing
DAY TWO: Resistance training focus: Series of the following, 8 to 12 repetitions x 4 cycles
- Chair squat
- Wall pushup or floor knee pushup
- Crunches (not full sit up)
- Lying hip bridges
- Side plank
- Bird dogs
|Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach who specializes in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.|