How to Boost your Immunity against Coronavirus: Exercise, meditation, sleep

The intensity of coronavirus situation make some to be wondering about their health, How can I keep myself healthy in this trying period?

The answer lies in following the latest guidelines on social distancing, proper handwashing and your local stay-at-home directives.

But there are also ways to strengthen your own immune system. Diet is one of them, and we covered that here in part one of our immunity boosting series.

Yet what you eat is just one factor. Being physically active, meditating and managing stress, and getting adequate sleep help, too. Keep reading to find out why those habits boost your immunity and how you can take advantage of their benefits.

Create time for fitness

Engaging in regular physical activity is a great way to help manage stress and strengthen your immune system. In fact, research shows that "fit individuals" -- defined as those who partake in regular physical activity -- have a lower incidence of infection compared to inactive and sedentary individuals.

What's more, being physically active may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases that could further weaken your immune system, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

How does exercise help? For one, physical activity helps to flush bacteria out of the lungs, decreasing your chances of getting a cold, flu or other illness. Exercise also reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, explained MaryAnn Browning, CEO and founder of Browningsfitness. Lower levels of stress hormones may protect against illness.

It also stimulates the production of endorphins -- chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators, says Browning.

And don't forget about the joy of dancing! My girls and I love blasting our favorite tunes and engaging in impromptu dance parties for a wonderful mood-lifting indoor activity, no equipment required. Try making up fun dance routines, or have someone play DJ and compete in "freeze dance."


If you haven't tried meditation, this is a good time to start. A recent review involving 20 randomized, controlled trials including more than 1,600 people suggested that meditation may help keep our immune system functioning optimally. Meditating on the scripture and the work of God will suffice .

A stressful circumstance like what we are experiencing now can negatively affect the immune system, but "a consistent meditation practice can help us better respond to stressful situations.

To start meditating, simply bring your full attention to your breath. Sitting with uplifted posture may help, and eyes may be closed or open. When you notice your mind wanders with thoughts like, "What am I going to have for lunch?" come back to your breath without judgment.

Gluck says once you've been practicing for a while and have learned how to choose between your breath and your thoughts, you can "apply that same mechanism of choice to [your] response to stressful situations. 

Most studies show you need to practice a minimum of 10 minutes a day for 8 to 10 weeks to see the benefits over time, Gluck added.

When meditating, it's a good idea to aim for consistency when it comes to the style of meditation; the time of day and length of your practice after reading the scripture; and your surroundings. You might choose your favorite spot on the couch or a designated corner with a meditation cushion, Gluck advised.

Manage stress

Research dating back over 25 years has revealed that psychological stress increases susceptibility to illness.
Prolonged or chronic stress can negatively impact the immune system by reducing the body's ability to defend against viruses and bacteria, explained Allison Forti, licensed clinical mental health counselor and associate director of the Online Master's in Counseling Program at Wake Forest University.

Additionally, when under stress, it's not uncommon for people to engage in coping strategies such as drinking excessive alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating a poor diet, or not getting enough sleep, which can also negatively impact the immune system, Forti added.

To calm our anxiety during this stressful time, first acknowledge that it is okay to feel stressed, anxious and afraid. "It is okay to feel panicked ... look for ways to ground yourself in a safe and healthy way that does not cause harm to others," Forti said.

Maintaining a sense of connection with friends and loved ones is important. Email, call or FaceTime relatives, and have live-streaming cocktail hours with friends, like my husband and I did this past Saturday evening. 

Don't economize sleep

Lastly, get your z's. Not doing so can negatively affect your immune system, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
To keep your immune system strong, the NSF advises aiming for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. But if your mind has been keeping you up or you simply can't get that amount, fill in the gaps with naps.

According to the NSF, taking two naps that are no longer than 30 minutes each — one in the morning and one in the afternoon — has been shown to help decrease stress and offset the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on the immune system. If that's not realistic, a 20-minute catnap during a lunch break or before dinner can help too.

Source: CNN 
How to Boost your Immunity against Coronavirus: Exercise, meditation, sleep How to Boost your Immunity against Coronavirus: Exercise, meditation, sleep Reviewed by E.A Olatoye on March 26, 2020 Rating: 5

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