Think of your body like a clock. Every little cog and gear whirring about in there works with every other piece, and if even one little part should come into trouble and get damaged, things might not work as well as they ought to. This delicate balance is just like our own immune systems, with our different organs and body systems all playing their own parts to help combat disease when they come.
Just like how a clock that’s gotten a faster motor isn’t going to tell the time properly, though, there’s no way we can boost our own immune systems—what we have is all there is. There isn’t any need to fret over this, though! Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more than enough to give our immune systems a good helping hand, and there are plenty of steps we can take to do so!
[related: In Focus: How To Keep Safe From The Deadly Coronavirus]
1. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
More than just being great additions to any meal, the concentration of nutrients, minerals, and natural sugars that you can find in a good balance of fruits and vegetables is unmatched next to anything else you could eat. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends eating a variety of fruits and vegetables when you can, which “not only ensures a greater diversity of beneficial plant chemicals, but also creates eye-appealing meals!
2. Exercise regularly
Getting your heart pumping and a good sweat going is just as important in helping your immune system out too! In a week, experts recommend getting “At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking, or 75 minutes of rigorous exercise like running.” Spread out over a week, this can mean something like going out for a 20 minute walk every day, or taking 10 minutes out of your day to do a couple of pushups or go for a run around the block!
3. Sleep well
What else could top a great workout and a better meal than having a good night’s rest after? On top of feeling great when you wake up, getting a healthy eight hours of sleep makes sure your hormone levels and immune functions are in tip-top shape! Chronic stress, which is often made worse when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, also makes us susceptible to colds and other infections.
4. Watch your hygiene
You might be tired of hearing this already, but it still bears repeating: wash your hands! Thoroughly lathering up and washing under clean, running water for 20 seconds should be enough to kill most viruses and germs living on your hands while they’re there. Remembering too to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough, refraining from touching your face, avoiding sharing dishes, glasses, or eating utensils should be good steps to avoid infection, according to the Harvard Medical School.
5. Take care of the people around you, too
After all, health isn’t just something we deal with on our own, and our immune systems aren’t just limited to what's inside of us. Offer your friends and loved ones the hand sanitizer when you use it, cook up a healthy meal for everyone in the family, invite a buddy to go out on a jog with you! In the end, a chain really is only as strong as its weakest link, and the best thing to do in times like this is to pull each other up and make sure that we all have a fighting chance together!
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Banner image courtesy of Under Armour