By: Michelle Faber, NBC- HWC, EP-C
Right now, there is a lot of talk about COVID-19, along with allergies, the common cold, flu and much more. There’s also a lot of information about what could help give your immune system a boost in protecting against these. While there is a lot of research being done on if there are certain vitamins, minerals, supplements or other ways to boost your immune system, what is known is that following simple lifestyle habits can help support your immune system by keeping it strong, healthy and better equipped to fight those pesky germs all year long. Here are five key ways to life healthy:
- Eat your fruits and vegetables.
Fill up with foods that have high nutritional value. Get a variety of different fruits and vegetables in, including different color and types. Fruits and vegetables provide great nourishment that your body and stomach need to keep your body and all its systems (like the immune system) running smoothly. There’s also the option to take a vitamin or mineral supplement if there is a deficiency in getting these through nutrition, perfect for those who don’t necessarily like broccoli or brussels sprouts.
- Get active.
Keep moving! Exercise is a great way to get your blood flowing and keep the body systems working efficiently. Moreover, it’s a great way to keep your heart healthy, keep blood pressure at bay and support good health. There are a lot of different workout ideas out there to help keep people moving. Don’t have equipment available? Try walking outside when the weather is nice or body weight exercise as well. Crunched on time? Turn household chores into a workout.
- Keep stress at a bay.
Having some healthy stress is a good thing, but some stress can wreak havoc on the body – from migraines and upset stomachs to less sleep and feeling drained. Everyone has a different trigger and response to stress, along with different coping mechanisms. Finding what works best is important to calm the body back down into a healthy balance. There are a lot of great ideas, practices and resources available to help, including deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, self-compassion practices, exercise and mediation.
Self-care and coping skills are critical to your mental health and wellbeing. Priority Health has partnered with a digital health specialist to offer free access to mental wellness resources specifically focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.
- Aim for quality sleep.
While people sleep, their bodies are still awake and working to build up support to the immune system, ensuring that everything functions properly. Getting a good seven to eight hours of sleep will not only help you feel rested and energetic, it will help prepare your body to have the resources needed to help fight off germs and other sickness.
- Practice good hygiene.
Take some action to keep clean. Washing hands, brushing teeth regularly, covering any open cuts and cooking food to the proper temperature are all great examples of ways to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
Don’t bite off all of these ideas at once – even just making small changes is a great way to start! It could be as simple as adding in one or two days of 10-15 minutes of exercise or adding in a serving of fruits or veggies to the week. Small changes over time can add up – so try not to feel overwhelmed.
About the Author: Michelle Faber, NBC- HWC, EP-C is a national board-certified health and wellness coach on the wellness team at Priority Health. She has a passion for helping individuals find their motivation and purpose to make and sustain healthy lifestyle changes in all areas of life. Michelle is certified as an Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine and loves working with people who are managing chronic disease, pregnancy, and exercise in young children and families. She is also an Orthopedic Specialist through the American Council on Exercise.