Many clients and patients at our performance and health gym / physical therapy practice feel like they can “see some light at the end of the tunnel.” At the same time, many still feel stressed, both physically and emotionally. Naturally, they’re asking us about how to boost their immune system to take better care of themselves.
Looking for a “miracle cure” immune booster and be tempting. And our team’s inboxes are full of suggested supplements, super foods or herbs. But we don’t believe that any have been proven to work.
So when we came across Christie Aschwanden’s article in The Washington Post about how to boost your immunity it brought us back to the proven immune boosting basics.
Our performance and health gym team believes that basic good practices boost your immune system.
Many peer-reviewed studies offer proof. We suggest focusing on four things:
Reducing Stress. A study of over 300 studies found that chronic stress caused measurable immune system suppression. Three options to reduce stress that our team believes in are:
- Connecting – staying in touch with people helps keep you engaged which reduces stress levels.
- Getting Outside – studies suggest that 2 hours or more per day for optimal benefits.
- Meditating – meditation for even just 10 minutes a day reduces stress and helps boost your immune system.
Getting Enough Sleep. Many of us are sleep deprived. And studies show that inadequate or irregular sleep leads to increased viral infections. Experts suggest three remedies:
- Get enough sleep – at least 8 hours per night. We all need it, whether we believe it or not.
- Sleep on a regular schedule – this improves your sleep quality.
- Moderate your alcohol – it interrupts your sleep patterns which leads to less deep sleep. And that’s critical for boosting your immune system.
Exercising Regularly – with moderate intensity. Okay, we’re a performance and health gym physical therapy practice, but we’re not being self-serving. Just raising your heart rate a bit and keeping it up for only a few minutes has been shown to improve the immune system’s surveillance. David Niemann an exercise physiologist we trust reviewed a century of studies. He found that:
“There is a clear inverse relationship between moderate exercise training and illness risk.” And regular “exercise improves immune regulation.”
Our performance and health gym team suggests:
- 15 minutes of moderate cardio-vascular activity 3 times a week.
- 30 minutes of strength training 3 times a week.
Eating a Healthy Diet. As Aschwanden notes:
“Despite the heavy marketing, there’s no vitamin or nutritional supplement that can magically bolster our immune system.”
In fact, the FDA has found more than a dozen companies that sell supplements that aren’t just unproven but contain illegal toxic drugs.
Our team likes to keep it simple. Based on our research we suggest:
- Eat “whole foods” – things that haven’t been processed. Additives can compromise your health.
- Have a “plant-forward” diet. Limiting your consumption of the saturated fats found in meat reduces your risk of heart problems and getting cancer.
- Keep regular mealtimes. We’re all busy. And we may be tempted to skip a meal. Or postpone eating. This leads to both overeating and eating less healthy foods. Both compromise your immune response.
Everything we do at elevate Health & Performance™ is based in science. You can learn more about our team of lifelong learners here.
And if you have any questions or need help boosting your immune system, contact us. We’re here ready to help when you’re ready for exercise or physical therapy.