How to optimize your immune system
The topic of immunity is more popular than ever. We’ve heard and seen some interesting “ways” to optimize your immune system:
- Taking a trillion grams of vitamin C
- Sweat it out with a 10 mile run
- Eat only fruits and vegetables and avoid all chocolate and wine on Tuesdays
Okay those may not be real, but the point is there’s some wacky advice and quick fixes out there about how to improve your health and immune system.
And although it may not be easy, it’s quite simple.
Focusing on behaviors that contribute to better health will fortify your immune system over time.
Here are 5 ways to get started:
1. Get Quality Sleep
We have so many demands on our time—jobs, family, errands—not to mention finding some time to relax and have fun. To fit everything in, we often sacrifice… Sleep.
But sleep has an impact on our mental and physical health. It’s vital for gaining strength, preventing illness, recovering from injury, and your overall well-being.
Of course, sleep helps you feel rested each day. But while you’re sleeping, your brain and body don’t just shut down. Internal organs and processes are hard at work throughout the night.
Sleep can be POWERFUL… if we get enough of it.
We know about the many benefits of getting good quality sleep, but what about the effects of NOT getting a good night’s rest?
Check out these side effects of sleep deficiencies:
- Long Term Mood Disorders
- Weight Gain
- Low Libido
- Heart Disease
Have you ever thought about if the sleep you are getting at night is quality sleep? It helps to see exactly what’s happening while you sleep.
We’ve found some great apps you can use to track and/or enhance your sleep:
- Sleep Cycle (The Perfect Workout favorite!)
- Sleep Better
- Sleep Pillow sounds
- CARROT Alarm
Below are more tips that may help improve your sleep tonight!
One of the best ways to get better sleep is strength training. Learn more about how our Strength Training Programs can help you!
2. Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
3. Lower Your Stress Levels
Stress is a natural reaction to life. But having too much stress or prolonged periods of stress can wreak havoc on the body and actually increase your susceptibility of sickness.
Watch this video on stress and how it can hurt your health!
There are countless ways to alleviate stress, just as long as we create time for them!
Below are some ways to kick stress to the curb.
- Exercise…. We’ve got you covered there!
- Spending time outdoors
- Spending time with pets (puppy therapy is a real thing!)
- Breathing exercises
- A good night's rest
- Taking Breaks!
One of our favorite ways to alleviate stress is the use of breath.
That’s right! Breathing properly can actually reduce stress (and help you achieve a better workout!)
Try out some of these simple everyday breath patterns you can use to melt stress away, any time of day.
We couldn’t talk about stress relief and NOT mention exercise. We all know exercise is good for us, and it does wonders to help us reduce stress levels (3).
- Exercising releases endorphins- you can't feel bad when you're feeling good
- Makes you feel better and empowered
- Helps improve the quality of your sleep
- Strength Training produces more endorphins than cardio
- Can reduce risk of heart disease
4. Up Your Water Intake
- Lubricate your joints and body’s systems so that everything moves & runs smoothly
- Regulate body temperature (which can be helpful in burning more fat!)
- Boost metabolism
- Protect organs & tissue
- Clear your bladder and flushes out toxins in your system
- And so much more!!
5. Exercise… The RIGHT Way
You might think that exercising more is a surefire way to fight off viruses.
Actually, too much physical stress (including exercise stress) can cause the body to react in unfavorable ways. You want just the right amount of high-intensity exercise stress for optimal improvements, and no more.
If you want to get optimal results you need to place value on resting and recovering from your workouts.
Studies show that consistently exercising helps increase immunity and decrease chances of getting sick.
Luckily, engaging in effective exercise does not require a big behavioral shift.
All you need is 20 minutes with the right method and the accountability of a Personal Trainer to get results.
In case you haven’t seen enough benefits already… Slow-motion strength training is proven to provide countless benefits including (5):
- Greater strength
- More endurance
- Additional calorie-burning lean muscle tissue
- Reversing age related muscle loss (sarcopenia)
- Increased metabolism for how many calories you burn even while you're resting
- Improved fat loss
- Stronger bones
- Reversing aging of muscle cells (express younger DNA in the nuclei)
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Improved cholesterol levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved low back pain
- Better blood sugar control
- Improved immune system
- And many more!!
So how can we optimize your immune syetem?
There are 5 behavioral changes that will help.
- Get quality sleep
- Eat nutrient dense foods
- Lower stress levels
- Drink more water
- Slow-motion strength training
Did you know these are key ingredients for most (if not all) health and wellness goals?
Want more guidance—
- Ferris, L. T., Williams, J. S., Shen, C. L., O’Keefe, K. A., & Hale, K. B. (2005). Resistance training improves sleep quality in older adults—a pilot study. J Sports Sci Med, 4(3), 354-60.
- Singh, N. A., Clements, K. M., Fiatarone, M. A. (1997). Sleep, Sleep Deprivation, and Daytime Activities A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effect of Exercise on Sleep. Sleep, 20(2), 95-101.
- O’Connor, P.J., Herring, M.P., & Caravalho, A. (2010). Mental health benefits of strength training in adults. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 4: 377; pp. 377-396. DOI: 10.1177/1559827610368771
- J udelson, D. A., Maresh, C. M., Farrell, M. J., Yamamoto, L. M., Armstrong, L. E., Kraemer, W. J., … & Anderson, J.M. (2007). Effect of hydration state on strength, power, and resistance exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39(10), 1817.
- Campbell, W.,Crim, M., Young,V. and Evans,W. (1994). Increased energy requirements and changes in body composition with resistance training in older adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 60: 167-175.
- Evans, W. and Rosenberg, I. (1992) Biomarkers, New York: Simon and Schuster. Forbes, G. B. (1976). “The adult decline in lean body mass,” Human Biology, 48: 161-73.
- Harris, K. and Holly R. (1987). Physiological response to circuit weight training in borderline hypertensive subjects. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 19: 246-252.
- Hurley, B. (1994). Does strength training improve health status? Strength and Conditioning Journal, 16: 7-13.
- Hurley, B., Hagberg, J., Goldberg, A., et al. (1988). Resistance training can reduce coronary risk factors without altering VO2 max or percent body fat. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 20: 150-154.
- Keyes, A., Taylor, H.L. and Grande, F. (1973). “Basal Metabolism and Age of Adult Man,” Metabolism, 22: 579-87.
- Koffler, K., Menkes, A. Redmond, W. et al. (1992). Strength training accelerates gastrointestinal transit in middle-aged and older men. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 24: 415-419.
- Menkes, A., Mazel, S., Redmond, R. et al. (1993). Strength training increases regional bone mineral density and bone remodeling in middle-aged and older men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 74: 2478-2484.
- Risch, S., Nowell, N. Pollock, M., et al. (1993). Lumbar strengthening in chronic low back pain patients. Spine, 18: 232-238.
- Singh, N., Clements, K. and Fiatarone, M. A randomized controlled trial of progressive resistance training in depressed elders. Journal of Gerontology, 52 A (1): M 27 – M 35.
- Stone, M., Blessing, D., Byrd, R., et al. (1982). Physiological effects of a short term resistive training program on middle-aged untrained men. National Strength and Conditioning Association Journal, 4: 16-20.
- Tufts University Diet and Nutrition Letter, (1994). Never too late to build up your muscle. 12: 6-7 (September).
- Westcott, W. and Guy, J. (1996). A physical evolution. Sedentary adults see marked improvements in as little as two days a week. IDEA Today, 14 (9): 58-65.
Jordan Thomson is passionate about fitness and helping others live sustainably healthy lives. Jordan joined The Perfect Workout in 2013 as a Personal Trainer in Newport Beach, CA. Since then she has helped expand our company with new studios in Chicago, IL and led teams of trainers in Philadelphia as well as Los Angeles. Now she serves as a creative mind within the Marketing team to help spread our mission to revolutionize the way people exercise.