In light of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a surge of interest in ways to strengthen immune health and support immune function. I’ve always believed in the importance of paying attention to one’s health and wellbeing by taking care of the body from the inside out and this starts with immune health. These strategies arise from my own experience having been an Adrenalin junkie most if not all of my life.
Our immune system is a critically important communication system that serves to protect our body like an army protects its country against an invasion. Our immune system is our body’s natural defence team and warriors against illness and disease. It’s important that we support our immune systems to keep it functioning at its best anytime but especially now. This COVID-19 global pandemic has us thinking about our health and for most of us wondering if we have what it takes to fight and win. The
stress alone puts strain on our immune health so arm yourself with knowledge and take steps to support your immune system as this will power up your confidence. To make a journey to recovery from these challenging times we need to make sure that we are strong and healthy not just for the duration of this recovery but beyond as we get back into our lives and back with our community.
I would like to share with you five strategies I have for supporting an otherwise healthy immune system. If you are undergoing treatment for a compromised immune system at this time be sure to check with your doctor or health-care provider before beginning an exercise program.
Make Exercise Essential
If you know me, you know I love to MO’ve my body everyday! One of the many benefits of exercise is its ability to support your immune function and metabolic pathways. As many have said: “exercise is medicine”. It is important to keep moving and exercising at minimum to accumulate 150 minutes of physical activity each week (20-30 minutes each day of the week). Keeping your body strong and your body weight within a normal range based on your age will in turn help to support healthy immune function. Being fit and physically active will also help you feel more energized, less stressed and happier during this time of confinement at home. I created four fabulous 20-minute workouts to help make it easy for you to get fit and stay fit. Have you seen or tried them yet? You can easily do these workouts in your home, even if you have limited space, and don’t need equipment to be effective!
Power Up Nutrition
Poor nutrition is detrimental to the health and functioning of your immune system. To effectively support your immune system, it is important to prioritize your nutrition. You are not only what you eat – in terms of how you look and feel but also function from the inside out. Think of your body like a car – your immune system is your engine and food is your fuel so the better the quality of fuel you put in your gas tank, the better your car will run and perform. A diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with many health benefits–including improved immunity. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants, fuels which protect our cells from invasion and destruction. If you are unsure about meeting your nutritional needs, there are a few options for you —beginning with taking a look at how you should set up your meal plate to ensure you are eating the right foods (nutrients) in the right amount. You may be surprised to find that both the size of your plate and serving sizes are out of proportion. Seek the help of a registered dietitian if you are struggling with your nutrition or if you wish a few great tips I have designed my NEWBODY Sensible Eating Plan —“The 5 P’s Please Program” in my workout book “NEWBODY WORKOUT for WOMEN” with the help of a registered dietician. It is a fun and quick way to evaluate and reconstruct your plate and everything that should go on it. *Bonus—this book will guide you through my 6-week signature workout NEWBODY.
Our experiences with the COVID-19 crisis has been traumatic and we are all going to have to find ways to recover from this—and come through this experience stronger if we decide to. On the way through traumatic experiences can negatively affect our health and wellbeing, causing vast amounts of stress on all levels—physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s important to recognize the issues you are experiencing and then address them before they take their toll. Understand that you are not alone in this crisis. The Chinese definition of the word “Crisis” means both danger and opportunity. Identify the danger for yourself and your family, in this case as it relates to your health, and reach out for help. There are many health support call centres and health support programs available for you at this time. While we may not be able to be with each other with physical distancing we can still be together socially via non-physical avenues. Join in on a virtual or live stream fitness class, host a virtual get-together with friends. Do something everyday to connect with someone; MO’ve through the trauma of isolation and loneliness by making a plan for yourself and find the tools that are right for you to support your recovery journey.
Care for Your Environment
You might not realize the effects that your environment has on you. There are things we can do and there are things we cannot do to change our environment. Keeping your home clean and creating a positive and supportive living environment will benefit both your physical and mental health. Limiting our exposure to toxins is important because as toxins build up in our bodies, they can overload and impair our body’s abilities to fight off disease over time and can lead to illness. Toxins come from a
variety of sources, from the water we drink, foods we eat (if they are highly-processed and contain a lot of preservatives) to the products we use for skin care or make-up. Average times spent in front of computer screens and devices has dramatically gone up during this at-home quarantine and this exposure can cause free-radical stress which can damage cells within your body. While it may be unavoidable to reduce screen times, take short periodic breaks away from your screens throughout the day will no doubt help. I invite you to take at your environment and reflect on how you can create a space for yourself that is health-promoting. Small changes can create big outcomes long term.
We are all feeling more stress than usual and are being exposed to new kinds of stress that we didn’t have before. Stress itself has the potential to create the most amount of stress or insult on the immune system. For that reason, it is important to find ways to manage your stress to help support your immune system.
Exercise is one great way to decrease your stress! It has been shown that exercise can lower the release of stress hormones. It also promotes the release of feel good hormones–endorphins! As little as 2 minutes of re-bounding (low impact jumping where your feet do not even leave the ground) is all you need to increase the production of endorphins. Check out my jump-rope challenge as this is a fun 7-day challenge to help you boost your feelings of happiness and reduce your stress level. Caution – this exercise can become contagious.
Strengthening and supporting your mental health and wellbeing is important to managing stress. Consider adopting a meditation practice. I fully believe in the power of following a meditation to help with grounding and supporting one’s mindset and managing stress. If you are not sure about how to start a meditation practice, or are looking for new tools to incorporate into your mediation practice, then let me share with you this special album of meditations album of meditations for leaders with my close friend and personal meditation coach Angela Kontgen.
One more tip to reduce stress–have you heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine”? I know we are all facing many serious and challenging times but give yourself permission to look for ways to create some fun and enjoyment for yourself to take your mind off the seriousness of the situation and reduce your stress levels. Finding or looking for ways to create MO’ments of joy in your life can go far to reducing stress which will support a healthier immune system and your journey to recovery.
Interested in learning more ways of dealing with stress and become more resilient to stress in your life? You could consider learning more through the Stress Resiliency course offered by canfitpro!
There you go! I hope that you found these strategies helpful and informative for improving your physical, mental, emotional and immune health. Stay safe and healthy (at home for now).