Over the past couple of months we have all become familiar with living in, around and with the coronavirus, COVID-19. Every day seems to bring new information about the coronavirus: how to appropriately social distance yourself, proper mask usage, signs of possible symptoms and numerous other issues may leave you feeling stressed or anxious. This is a natural reaction, and while circumstances may have changed, your physical – and mental – health needs have not. Let’s take a look at 5 ways to boost your immune system!
- Green Exercise, also known as outdoor exercise, provides many benefits aside from the physical activity alone. Taking a workout outdoors can help to boost vitamin D levels, improve cognitive function and reduce your stress.(1) The goal is to remain physically active, whether it’s walking the dog or running hill sprints!
Sitting is the New Smoking
- Don’t be a couch potato. We are doing just about everything from home now because of the coronavirus. Sitting has been equated to the new smoking and can lead to an array of health issues. The aim should be to get up once every hour for 5 minutes. You can either perform a light intensity activity or a routine household occupational task. This break has been shown to be beneficial in decreasing metabolic risk. (1)
- Be more mindful. Mindfulness has been shown to offer a host of physical, psychological and social benefits. This can lead to decreases in perceived stress, improved self-efficacy, enhanced emotional regulation and a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life.(2) A few examples include: yoga, tai chi, qigong, walking outside, meditation and breathing exercises.
Get Your Sleep
- Create a healthy sleep habit. One in three Americans report getting less than the recommended amount of sleep.(2) Disordered sleeping can contribute to a variety of health risks that can compromise your immune system. Here is a good place to start to develop a healthy sleep habit:
- Go to bed the same time each night.
- Limit the amount of blue light before bed.
- Create a relaxing environment.
- Exercise daily.
- Avoid eating large meals before bedtime
- Maintain your social connections. This may seem difficult during the era of social distancing but there are a number of ways that it can be done virtually. People everywhere are doing virtual happy hours, dance parties, taking classes together and using one of my favorites, the app “House Party.”
Be sure to maintain appropriate social distance from friends and neighbors and otherwise adhere to local ordinances and state and federal guidelines as those evolve. Try to implement at least one of these methods each week and you will be surprised at both how much your activity level has increased and also at the level of self care that has taken place.
We’ve covered stress and your health many times before. If you’d like to read more about it check out a few of these:
What ways do you practice to boost your immune system and stay healthy?
- Staying Active While Maintaining Social Distancing Author Daniel J. Green Contributor Daniel J. Green is ACE’s Senior Project Manager and Editor for Publications and Content Development. In addition to his work with organizations including the International Association of Fire Fighters and Agriculture Future of America – https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/7525/staying-active-while-maintaining-social-distancing/
- Self-care and Stress Management. Author Daniel J. Green Contributor Daniel J. Green is ACE’s Senior Project Manager and Editor for Publications and Content Development. In addition to his work with organizations including the International Association of Fire Fighters and Agriculture Future of America – https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/7523/self-care-and-stress-management/