You are more than a set of constructed gears that tick and click. Much of Western medicine operates with this belief. A gear out of place? Just pop it back in. This may surprise you so brace yourself- you’re a living being. Your body doesn’t drive you, you drive it. Your food relationship, lifestyle, and mental dialogue are all your input. This input tells your cells what to do and what to not do. This includes your immune system. It’s not a simple as plug in a few activities and your immune system is optimal. Genetic switches, past decisions, resource availability, chronic illness are factors too. Good news is that these simple and no salesman involved practices can improve your immune system.
Most of us are intelligent and know we need to exercise. What may blow your mind is that running or some 1980’s calisthenics isn’t necessarily the best exercise for you. If it’s your jam, then do it. However, physical activity has flexible options. You do need some kind of cardio, gets heart rate above resting level which means above 60- 100 beats per minute. This is a range and you’re resting heart rate could be outside of it depending on many factors. Either way, know your resting heart rate and get it up at least three times a week. Walking, challenging yoga, HIIT, Barre, biking, dancing are just a few cardio options. Stretching and strength building is important too. Workouts such as yoga, barre, and dancing incorporate cardio, stretching, and strength.
You immune system loves physical activity. I mean just MF loves it. It promotes detoxification that you need often. So much better than those awful damaging cleansing drinks. (if you see an ad for one, don’t do it). Movement flushes out liver and lymphatic system which in turns affects every living cell of your body. Cardio promotes oxygen levels and blood circulation. Now when you eat well, it goes further in your body. Physical activity helps regulate your gut. You digest food better and enhance nutrient absorption.
Sleep & Relax
Your body needs balance of active times and times to relax. More than a recharge time, sleep and relaxing allows your body time to repair and bring every function into an improved balance.
Sleep is a contributor to
- insulin regulation
- heart and blood tissue repair
- brain tissue repair and establish new brain connections
- nerve repair
- hormone re-balancing- including the major stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine.
Relaxing can help these too and promote the “happy” chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. Sleep and relax works in tandem with physical activity. When you have both in your life, you drive the balance your body needs to sustain you. That balance is the domino effect to boost your immune system.
Warm fuzzies are life supporting. Yes you should feel good. But in the right way. Seek the warm fuzzies to promote more of those amazing “happy” chemicals. When you soothe your nerves and bring your hormone chemicals into balance, your immune system is able to do it’s job better. Self care is another crucial part and often involves sensory input. There are 10 simple ways to you can care for yourself. Self care is not optional, it is a part of your health care.
Your Body Hears You
Thoughts and express words reveal beliefs about yourself and others. This impacts your immune system on a biochemical level. You can verbally feed stress with your thoughts and words. Feeding stress increases inflammation and stress chemicals, reduces those “happy” healing biochemicals. All suppressing your immune system.
It doesn’t mean you sugar coat what you say; however, watch your thoughts and words which reflect emotions and stress concerning a situation, environment, or person. You can literally speak healing (thus improve immune system by reducing judgement and allowing grace on yourself and other.
All of this leads to stress reduction as a major benefit of each lifestyle practice. I cannot understate the roll of stress on our bodies and minds. Stress in short term, as in minutes or a few hours, is beneficial. Stress long term is not and it’s more than with-holding those “happy” chemicals. Long term stress, called allostatic load, prevents biological processes that repair and heal your body, including the immune system.
Immune health isn’t a simple as taking your Vitamin C and hope for the best.
You are in control.
Food hasn’t been left out. Food and supplements for the immune system are up next. Be ready to be shocked by the absolute bull shit out there. Subscribe to vegetarian updates for the next installment.