Nobody likes getting sick, but we don’t ever think much about it until we finally feel it coming. Then we find ourselves suddenly stocking up on vitamin C and drinking herbal tea, trying all the home remedy tricks we learned from our grandmothers. However, the best way to fight off illnesses is to prevent them in the first place, by doing simple things each day that boost the immune system.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep each night is so essential for a healthy immune system. Try to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sound sleep each night, which may take some practice to build up to. Studies have shown that lack of sleep significantly weakens the immune system. If you have trouble falling asleep, set up a good nightly routine to relax and prepare for sleep. Put your screens away at least an hour before bed or get some blue light protecting glasses.
Eat Your Antioxidants
Our bodies need the right fuel to fight off infections. Antioxidants clear out free radicals from the body, which can otherwise cause inflammation and weaken the immune system. Vitamins A, C, and E are rich in antioxidants and can help regulate the immune response. Make sure you’re eating your vegetables and fruits to get these essential micronutrients, and if you can’t get enough through your diet, consider taking a high-quality multivitamin.
Stress not only affects your mental well-being, but it also takes an enormous toll on your physical health. While acute stress is sometimes useful for those short bursts of adrenaline, most of us are dealing with chronic stress. This wreaks havoc on your body and can lead to adrenal fatigue, chronic low-grade inflammation, and a weakened immune system. If you’re feeling stressed out, try getting to the root of the problem and fixing that. Take some time to relax and unwind after a stressful day so that your body can recover.
Exercise, But Not Too Intensely
Exercise is so vital for overall health, but it specifically benefits the immune system by promoting helping to circulate your immune cells throughout the body. It also lowers inflammation and reduces stress levels, which is key for a robust immune system. However, some studies have found that overly intense exercise, especially without enough recovery time, can have adverse effects on your immune health. So, exercise, but give your body enough time to recover as well.
Practice Good Hygiene
While it is essential to have a strong immune system that can fight off infections, the best way to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face if you haven’t. If you’re out and aren’t able to wash your hands, use sanitizer or a hand wipe.
This is an interesting time we’re living in, and boosting the immune system is at the top of everyone’s priority list. Along with these daily tasks, eating as many plants as possible will give you the strong immune system you’re longing for. Load up on veggies, drink copious amounts of fresh water, and lessen the load of environmental toxins. Make time for things that make you happy, nourish your relationships, and make sure you feel connected. There are so many things that come together to create a robust immune system.
An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. – Henry David Thoreau
Today more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies, and lack of physical exercise. – Mike Adams
Adding new healthy habits can feel daunting. Being inundated with the latest eating plans, the newest organic superfood drink, trendy gym classes — it can all be a lot. On top of being overwhelming in general, these things can add up in price. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be that way, and today I’m including seven ways that you can improve your health for little to no cost at all.
Be Physically Active
You don’t need a gym membership or personal trainer to move your body. There are loads of free resources on the internet for workouts that you can do at home with no equipment at all. You can also go for a walk or run outside when the weather is nice. If you wish, you can invest in minimal equipment, such as resistance bands, to increase the intensity of your at home workouts without breaking the bank.
Lately, many scientific studies have been demonstrating that intermittent fasting can give you tremendous health benefits. You can choose a split that works best for you and your schedule, but the most common breakdown is an 8-hour eating frame and a 12-hour fast. This isn’t just great for weight and fat loss; studies have shown that it can improve cell regeneration and help prevent illness. Check with your medical professional to make sure fasting is right for you.
Take Cold Showers
Cold showers can stimulate your nervous system and improve your heart rate. Try to take a cold shower first thing in the morning—not only will it really wake you up, but it can also improve heart health.
Meditating is good for both the body and mind. Take time to meditate each day, and you will notice a dramatic decrease in your stress levels, which not only makes you feel happier and more relaxed but also improves your physical health. When we are stressed out, our bodies release too much cortisol— our stress hormone— which can increase inflammation and have negative effects on our physical health. By de-stressing, you can take care of your mental and physical health.
Practice Your Breathing
Take some time each day to completely clear your mind and focus solely on your breathing. Practice taking slow, deep breaths instead of the short and shallow breathing that we often unconsciously do when we’re feeling stressed. This can also be part of your meditation practice.
Drink Enough Water
Water is the healthiest thing you can drink —and it is free. Make sure you’re drinking half of your body weight in oz of water each day and make it a habit to drink a big glass first thing in the morning. If you want to do a little extra, you can have a cup of warm lemon water in the morning to kickstart your metabolism and make you feel like you started your day on a healthy note. That way, you’ll be more inclined and motivated to keep up the healthy habits for the rest of the day.
Spend Time in Nature
You don’t need to exercise outside every day, but you should spend at least 30 minutes in nature, whether you’re moving your body or just sitting in the park. Spending time in nature is fantastic for reducing stress and clearing our minds. The fresh air is good for waking you up if you feel groggy or unmotivated.
Let’s face it— sometimes, we just don’t have the time or motivation to get our daily exercise done. Aside from planned workouts, we actually burn a good deal of calories from simple regular movements, such as walking.
Here are five ways that you can increase your physical activity by tweaking the daily tasks that you’re already doing.
1. Park further away
Whenever we drive somewhere, we always look for the closest parking spot so that we don’t have to walk far. However, this is a missed
opportunity to get some extra steps in (plus, you’ll likely save yourself a lot of stress from not finding an empty spot). Next time you’re parking somewhere, try to go a bit further away from the entrance. These daily steps add up.
2. Make physical activity a social event
Usually, when we catch up with friends, it’s over coffee or a meal. Try integrating physical activity into your social life so that you make it something you look forward to. Instead of going out for dinner, go on a walk together. This way, you can still talk and catch up, but you’ll be moving your body while you do it. You can also do other fun activities together, such as skating, rock climbing, or a fun fitness class. It’s always more fun to exercise when you’re doing it with a friend.
3. Pace when you’re on the phone
All these seemingly little movements throughout the day can add up and contribute a lot to your overall step count and the number of calories that you burn. When you’re texting or talking on the phone, pace back and forth or walk around the house. Over time, it will become a habit, and you won’t even think about it as you do it.
4. Take a bike or walk instead of driving
If you’re going somewhere that’s not too far, try riding your bike or walk there instead of driving or taking a bus. If the destination is too far and you are taking public transit, you can walk to the next station over instead of the one closest to you and get off a few stops early to walk the rest of the way.
5. Get up when you’re sitting
If you have an office job or are working at your desk all day, you are probably spending the majority of your day sitting down, which can be unhealthy and especially bad for your posture. Take advantage of your lunch break, and take a quick stroll. Get some fresh air. Even throughout your working hours, remember to get up off your chair and even just walk tothe bathroom or end of the hallway every so often.
You can also do some of your work standing up, when at all possible. If you work from home, consider getting a standing or height-adjustable desk, or sit on a medicine ball instead of a chair.
One way to automatically ramp up your digestion and lower your stress is to do a short breathing exercise before every meal.
Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Repeat this 10x before you begin your meal.
Doing so will allow your system to calm down and relax, which will assist you in digesting your food well.
Believe it or not, your stress/anxiety levels have a lot to do with how well your body digests food. This is an easy way to lower those levels right before you begin eating. Try doing this before every meal and see what feels different for you!
If you feel like you slack off on your exercise during the holidays months with the hope of picking back up in the new year — try something different this year. Instead of thinking with an “all or nothing” mentality — make it your priority to get at least 10 minutes of exercise per day. You can do more, but make sure you get at LEAST ten minutes.
That’s it! Sounds doable, right? That’s because it is — we let logistics get in the way too often. Maintain your regimen throughout these months, and it’ll be much easier to ramp up your efforts in the new year — if those are your resolutions.
Do you prefer working out at home or in the gym?
As the air gets cooler over the next few months, you may be wanting to do more inside workouts.
Some favorite inside workouts to do during the chilly months include:
- Following an at-home “gym” routine such as Open Fit or Beachbody On Demand
- Using a Rebounder
- A simple brisk walk on the treadmill
What ways do you enjoy working out during the cooler months?
Brain fog can be characterized by a lack of concentration, an inability to make decisions, frequent headaches, and nausea, to name a few. Is this something you struggle with regularly? A few common causes of brain fog could range from a nutrient deficiency, lack of proper sleep, ingesting an abundance of sugar, a thyroid condition, or even depression. Inactivity and chronic stress can also unleash brain fog, so there are a lot of factors at play when nailing down what’s causing your brain fog.
Luckily, you don’t have to keep your head in the clouds for too long. Here’s what you can do about it.
Try intermittent fasting
It’s well-known for helping you lose stubborn weight, but intermittent fasting can also improve your neurological well-being. You can ease into it by extending the timeframe between the last meal you eat in one day and the first meal you eat on the next day. A popular intermittent fasting method is 16:8, which means you’re fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window. For example, this would pan out by eating dinner at 7 pm and not eating again until 11 am the next day.
Avoid sedentary behavior
Through no fault of our own, many of our jobs require us to log long hours behind a desk. Increased activity levels are known for boosting your mental acuity, so even if your schedule truly is packed, there are still things you can do to get moving. Take a 10-minute walk around the office a few times a day to stretch your legs and get your blood moving, or spend your lunch break getting some activity in. You can even invest in a DeskCycle, and you can even get a workout in AT your desk. It’s a small under the desk bicycle that allows you to “ride” a bike while seated at your desk.
Sleep on it
I don’t need to tell you your body needs enough sleep to function properly. Rest is one of the most crucial aspects of your overall health, so get that sleep you need by going to bed a little earlier every night until you’re getting more Zzz’s. If you have trouble sleeping soundly, investigate some natural ways to get a proper nights sleep, and see what works best for you.
Get into meditation
It can be hard to shut off the noise in your head, which is why many people feel like giving up when they first try meditation. Instead, download some healing frequencies that help you tune into your mind. There are also some fantastic apps you can download on your phone, such as Headspace and Calm, which can help you become a meditation pro.
Make the food you eat count
Food really is the way to balance your health. You need to make sure you are getting enough of the food your brain needs to work optimally. Eat omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and whole foods loaded with vitamins and minerals for your best brain health. Try adding some MCT oil into your morning coffee or taking it a step further for some “bulletproof” coffee (google it, it sounds strange, but it wakes up your brain in a snap!)
When most people focus on their health, they often put more emphasis on their physical aspects. But well-rounded health comes from balancing both physical and mental. Give some of these tips a shot and see what helps lift the brain fog for you.