Sustained lockdowns have weakened the immune systems of millions of Britons. Being isolated from common flu, colds, and viruses have led to a reduced national immunity. While this has reduced Covid cases it complicates post-lockdown life. With millions of people beginning to mingle and socialise again it is vital to ensure your immune system is functioning properly.
While the idea of strengthening your immune system is oftentimes misinterpreted there are a few steps you can take to ensure it’s functioning as efficiently as possible. Your immune system is composed of a balanced network of cells, organs, proteins, and antibodies. This system can only function properly with the support of a healthy lifestyle and body, and there are four key aspects you need to ensure you keep it ticking over.
A Balanced Diet and Constant Hydration
In the same way that you need to fuel your body, you have to fuel your immune system, too. A mixture of fresh fruit and veg as well as an inclusion of fermented foods helps to secure the vitamins your immune system needs to function. Fermented food help to boost probiotics which develop gut bacteria which help to stave off infections and viruses.
Making sure you have enough healthy fats, such as omega-3 or olive oil helps to boost anti-inflammation in your body which is oftentimes the leading reason for illnesses or infections. It is also vital to ensure you keep your sugar levels low, generally below 5% of your daily calorie intake.
Keeping hydrated is also an integral part of keeping your body at peak performance. Ensuring you do not become dehydrated ensures that your body has the appropriate fluids. This is particularly vital for older adults as their body often does not signal thirst adequately.
Consistent Exercise and Activity
Staying active during lockdown has been difficult for many, with so many restrictions on outdoors exercising and gym closures many people have lost their avenue for exercise.
Keeping active has many benefits: improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure and controlling weight are all significant factors for working out. These lead to a healthier and regulated body, which in turn ensures your immune system is properly balanced.
A key part of maintaining health is ensuring to avoid obesity. Obesity can not only lead to cardiac and respiratory complications, but it can also damage your immune system from the overabundance of body fat. The reverse is true as well however, too low body fat will leave you susceptible to viruses and flus.
Knowing your personal healthy weight is vital to controlling how much exercise you should do. While one person may be able to go to the gym 3-4 times a week for hours, someone else may be more suited to a 30 minute walk each day. Exercise also plays a vital part in controlling our third factor: stress.
Managing Stress and its’ Effects
High blood pressure is a common result of high stress levels and it has a noticeable adverse effect on your immune system. While completely eliminating stress from your life is almost impossible, its severity can be reduced. Self-care is a common tool to curb your stress levels.
Taking time out of your day to manage stress will work wonders for your immune system. Going for a walk, meditation, or doing yoga are proven ways to lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
If these activities do not help your blood pressure or heart rate make sure to see your doctor. Keeping your heart in a healthy condition is essential not just for your immune system but your entire biological system too.
Regimented and Good Quality Sleep
One aspect of health that is overlooked is the importance of consistent and good quality sleep. While many people are aware of the number of hours required for a healthy sleep schedule, they neglect it for late nights or poor quality sleep instead.
Making sure you have a rigid sleep schedule which grants you a consistent amount of sleep is vital for recovery and growth. This is no less true for your immune system. For your body to fight off infections it needs to be able to regain its strength.
Sleep is also an integral part of keeping you active and lowering your stress levels. It is the lynchpin for your immune system, without it you leave yourself susceptible to numerous infections.
Keeping your immune ticking over in post-lockdown will be vital for good health. Being exposed to countless numbers of viruses is not only best for your health, but also the health of those around you that keep your immune system at peak performance.
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