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Boost your immune system through exercise

Boost your immune system through exercise

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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.

Photo: bigstockphoto.com
Photo: bigstockphoto.com

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.

Exercise routine

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.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com


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Body & Soul: Dynamic Duo

Body & Soul: Dynamic Duo

Latest News


Body & Soul: Dynamic Duo

by Agnes Ramsay

Exercise + Nutrition = Active Immune Booster

Staying healthy throughout the winter months can be a challenge. Even if you take care to wash your hands, use an antibacterial sanitizer and get the flu shot, your immune system can always use an extra boost.

Source: bigstockphoto.com
Source: bigstockphoto.com

Keeping your body strong with proper nutrition and exercise helps to avoid illness at anytime of the year, but it is especially important during the fluctuation of weather patterns over the next few months when we’re most vulnerable to colds and flus.

EXERCISE WITH CAUTION

Exercise increases the number of white blood cells in your body, which are the body’s natural defence in fighting illness. I’m by no means suggesting strenuous exercises or that you become a marathon runner, but simply by taking a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk each day, can dramatically cut down your risk of catching a cold.

To mix it up (or if the weather isn’t conducive), alternate with going to the gym – but don’t overdo it. If you exercise to the point of exhaustion, without letting your body recover, then it becomes a negative stressor, which can compromise your health.

NUTRITION FACTS

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, is actually quite fitting. Proper nutrition helps to keep your immune system strong. If you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, you are fuelling your body with disease-fighting vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, B6, D, Folate Acid, Iron, Selenium and Zinc – all of which are widely considered to help lower the risk of a host of ailments. When you eat a variety of foods throughout the day, you have more energy to engage in physical activity, plus it keeps you in that immune boosting zone.

SOLUBLE FIBRE
oat bran
barley
nuts
seeds
lentils
citrus fruits
apples
strawberries
carrots

Source: bigstockphoto.com
Source: bigstockphoto.com

The down side of using supplements, is that you’re not getting the added benefit of fibre. The fibre content found in whole foods not only helps to keep you ‘regular’, but it also strengthens your immune system.

Insoluble fibres tend to have more-bulky traits (for staying regular), like those found in whole grains and flax, as well as vegetables like celery and tomatoes.

Soluble fibres are found in many fruits, nuts, beans and oats. They not only help to control your blood sugar and serum cholesterol, but they also help to reduce inflammation throughout your body, which helps to support your immune system.

Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com



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