Upgrade Your Immune System With Exercises For The Mind & Body
- 2 mins read
- Written by: Dr. Pramod Mane
When you fall ill, it isn’t always possible to trace where the infection came from. Maybe you weren’t careful enough during the flu season, or you dealt with a sick family member, or perhaps a friend was ill and asymptomatic when you met them.
In each of these cases, your immune system could mean the difference between being ill for a rough couple of days or feeling miserable for an entire month. In either case, upgrading your immune system with exercise is crucial not only for adequate nourishment, but also keeping your mind and body physically strong.
Exercises for the body
Walking and Hiking
If you’ve never exercised before, or if you haven’t worked out in the recent past, walking is the best way to start your journey towards better health. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous and time-consuming, even a short walk every day can help you reap several health benefits.
Walking is a good way to get a minimum daily recommendation of exercise, burn fat, and it can even help you combat depression. It is recommended that you walk at least 10,000 steps a day to reap the benefits of this exercise.
Strength training is simple in theory, it’s all about moves and exercises that improve your strength and endurance. It works by pushing your body to do new things, which strain your muscles.
When your body recovers from this stress, the muscles heal and come back stronger than before. And as you keep getting stronger you keep increasing the reps or reducing rest times. And not only does it burn a ton of calories, but it also mobilizes your immune cells and slows down the effects of aging on the immune system.
High-intensity Interval Training
HIIT, as it’s also known, is a more advanced workout than strength training or hiking. It involves doing strenuous exercises as hard and as fast as possible for a set time. This is followed by a resting period that is also for the same amount of time.
Each session lasts between 20 seconds to a minute and a HIIT workout typically lasts for about 15 minutes. In this time, your intense workout causes what’s called an “afterburn effect” where your body continues to burn up calories for hours after. Be warned though, this isn’t the kind of workout you do without a minimum baseline fitness level.
Exercises for the mind
Taking care of your mind is just as important for your immune system as exercise and diet. Chronic stress pushes your body to produce higher levels of cortisol, your body’s stress hormone. Cortisol prioritizes your blood circulation towards your brain rather than other organs.
Over a period of time, this can result in high blood pressure, weight gain, poor gut health, and more. The key is to keep some time to relax and centre yourself each day. Deep breathing or even five minutes of assisted meditation can drastically reduce stress levels and improve your health.
Yoga helps release stress from the body and improves its overall functioning by boosting the immune system. This is because certain yoga poses can help calm your nervous system by improving your heart rate, boosting your respiratory system and improving blood circulation.
Yoga can also help relieve congestion and clear sinus and mucus membranes which are the body’s first line of defence against respiratory illnesses. Practising yoga regularly can result in several positive health benefits. Find out more on how yoga bends the rules for better immunity.
Remember, when it comes to upgrading your immune system with exercises, consistency is key! At the same time, remember to make every move matter when you exercise, and you will be on your way towards better immunity in no time!