Timely and important advice from Olympus Movement Performance
Q: Help! Everyone around me is sick, how can I help myself stay healthy?
A: Wash your hands and stay F.R.E.S.H.
WASH YOUR HANDS!
One of the first lessons learned as an RN was proper hand washing technique. It seems basic, but so many people get it wrong and proper handwashing is one of the best first-line defenses against getting sick and spreading illness. 20 seconds (sing happy birthday to yourself twice) with warm water and soap, being sure to scrub palms, back of hands, in-between fingers, under fingernails, and pay attention to your cuticles and thumbs (some of the most commonly neglected areas).
FRUITS, VEGGIES and SUPPLEMENTS
Eating more of these and lots of other great whole foods that deliver key nutrients that boost your immune system. Sauerkraut, bone broth, turmeric seasoning, seagreens such as kelp and spirulina are all great additions to help boost your immune system.
Supplements can also play a key role in boosting your immunity and overall health! Supportive supplementation can include probiotics, B-complex, B-12, zinc, vitamin C, elderberry syrup or lozenges.
I also have to add the dreaded list of what to AVOID: limit sugar, processed foods, caffeine and alcohol. I know this can be hard, but being sick is much harder, and these foods weaken your immune system and can actually feed some types of pathogens!
Stress can definitely be detrimental to your immune system and your overall health and wellbeing. Now is a great time to start building-in a relaxation moment into your day… meditate, get outside, try starting a gratitude journal. Laugh; watch a few funny videos or spend time in the company of someone who makes you laugh. Do a few minutes of left-nostril breathing (yes, this is a thing, and it has actually been shown to reduce sympathetic nervous system activity, which is your fight or flight response that is hyperactive during stress). Whatever you choose, it doesn’t need to take up too much of your time and don’t think of it as another addition to your ever-growing to-do list. Think of it as an essential part of your daily self-care routine, just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
Move your body! Even better, take your workout outside and get some vitamin D and fresh air. A brisk walk, yoga, bike ride, group fitness class at Olympus, play Soccer, a family hike… just move. Exercising regularly boosts blood flow, which circulates white blood cells through the body. White blood cells are the cells of the immune system that protect the body against disease. The immune system responds to exercise by producing more of these cells.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the rise in body temperature during and after exercise can actually help you fight infection better by preventing bacteria from growing. Due to the heavier breathing rate during exercise, you also can flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways by exercising. Regular moderate exercise not just boosts your immune system, but boosts your mood and overall health and well-being.
Aim for 7-9 hours. Turn off your screens, try keeping your phone on the other side of your room if you’re too tempted to scroll before you snooze. Try a sound machine, or tea and a warm bath before bed. Write down a list of everything running through your mind that might be keeping you up. According to The National Sleep Foundation, without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines. Cytokines are a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, and they are both produced and released during sleep, so skimping on sleep is a double whammy against this powerfully important immunity component. Chronic sleep loss can even make the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond. So, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..
Water, water, water! Staying hydrated helps your body naturally eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness. Drink when you feel thirsty, set an alarm on your phone if you’re not in the habit of listening to your body. 8 glasses 8 times a day, plus 4-8 ounces for every 15 minutes of exercise is a good place to start if you are not good about staying hydrated.
Be happy, be healthy, be well!