Exercise for an immunity boost.

 

Number 2 in the Top 5 Must Dos to avoid colds and flu

Exercise is a powerful tool to help you stay healthy this winter.  Our bodies are made to move. You’ve heard that sitting is the new smoking.  There is a growing body of research that shows that sitting more than 6 hours each day significantly increases your health risk for 3 main “co-morbidities”.  Who wants that – it sounds like you’ll get sick.

The three are diabetes; heart disease and some cancers.  Mental health also seems to take a hit.

When we analyse our day we will find that for many of us the sitting gets way over the 6 hours when we add sitting for breakfast?, commuting, working, commuting, evening at home eating and relaxing.

So what to do?  Incidental exercise is the movement you get when you are doing other things that involve movement. Walk to the bus/train, or walking from your parking spot.  Walking around at work, and taking the stairs where possible.  Look for them in the parking station, or coming out of the train station.  Be one of those annoying people walking on the escalator!

Actual exercise is an obvious goal.  The latest studies and research shows that there is a huge value in quite short but hard workouts. But short I mean under 15 minutes and hard, I mean you really push yourself to your current limit.  You should be out of breath.

The HIIT ( High Intensity Interval Training ) method is highly researched and has significant benefits especially when combined with dietary changes.  Significant improvements in blood sugar management, heart lung capacity and muscle tone and bone health.  Are you just a little interested?

So what sort of activity could you do for this HIIT training?  Actually there is a nearly unlimited range of things you could do.  Most of the research has been on stationary bikes, as they require no training and are effective as they work the biggest muscles in the body – the legs.  The Rowing machine also lends itself to this as does a skipping rope. You could sprint for 10 seconds ( running or swimming ).

The basic formula is hard for 10 seconds and then coast for 20 seconds and then repeat. Do this 5 times.  I’ve done it periodically on a stationary bike at the gym, and I can attest that it is startlingly exhausting!

Why might it boost immunity, I hear you question.  The benefits are several.

  1. Stress reduction via activity
  2. Circulation boost
  3. Movement of the organs to process and eliminate better
  4. Feeling good via positive hormones

So there you have some inspiration that will give you reasoning as to why exercise will support good health and boost vitality.

Keep coming back for more regular updates.

Rest and recovery – Immune boost with rest 

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Over the next 5 days I will expand each of the topics I covered yesterday to give more detail about each.  I want you to feel empowered by better understanding the “Why and How” of each of the elements that can build your immunity and resilience.

“Tell me why rest will boost my immunity” I hear you say.

The Immune system is far more complex that has been understood in the recent past.  The primary antagonist to the immune system is the adrenal system.

Adrenaline is a master hormone – it is a survival response, so it has the power to override other systems so that the body can live through the immediate threat.  The body is fundamentally logical.  The immediate response is to survive.  This is a fundamental truth and is regularly seen in news items when we see people survive against the odds.

I remember a woman Mary who lived in shop doorways in Surry Hills in the 90s and lived on a combination of cheap wine and food from skip bins and left overs from restaurants.  Despite this lifestyle she was a regular site on the streets for over 10yrs and will be known by many who lived and visited the area.  The take away was the imperative of the body to survive.  I’m not suggesting that she enjoyed excellent health, but what is quite instructive is that she survived an environment that may kill the rest of us, so how DID her body allocate those immune resources to ensure that she woke up every day?  Despite all this She had an abundance of energy to offer her opinion about a range of topics to any passers by. A contradiction evident in her story.

Back to YOU, the basics of the immune system is its connection to the nervous system.  If the stress response or adrenaline shuts down the immune system over time, then the relaxation system or parasympathetic side of the nervous system is the stimulator or supporter of the immune system.

To achieve good sleep you need to get the parasympathetic or relaxation response active.  If you can follow my crumb trail you may begin to see that the power of sleep or rest is that it puts your nervous system into a state that will push resources or energy into the immune system.

You know that we digest well when were are relaxed, and you probably now know that over 50% of the immune system lives in the gut lining. You can see how although very complex, the body systems that are diverse but require the same environment to function well.

The reason that over half of the immune system is in the gut is that the gut wall is the barrier between the outside and the inside of the body!  I found that very difficult to swallow when I was studying anatomy, however, when you think about it, until food has gone through the gut wall it is actually just inside a long tube that has an opening to the outside at each end, so while it might be dark inside your mouth, it isn’t in your body truely till it is absorbed through the gut wall.

Soooo, back on track, I hope that I have laid out some understanding of how the nervous system shuffles energy to where it is needed for survival.  When we relax into sleep, rest or meditation, then we boost the immune system.  That is obviously a survival reflex, however, it will take second to the fight or flight response.

Where is the take away message..  if the topic yesterday was how to not get sick this winter, the in-depth explanation above is to ensure that we keep the immune system “on guard” by getting sufficient sleep so that we are not running tired on adrenaline to make ends meet.

PS meditation is well researched to boost immunity and in studies those who meditate get better 3 to 4 x faster than those who do not.  Powerful stuff!

5 MUST DOs for winter health – avoid flu and colds

triangleThe immune system can protect you – but will it?

Here are a number of things that you MUST do if you are to help your immune system to stay on top of all the bugs circulating during winter

Be sufficiently rested.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but we are often under pressure to deliver in both our personal and professional lives and this leads to a lowering of our immune defence.

How then do we “bank” rest to give our body the resources to stay well.

Get to bed early at least 1 x during the week.  Lights out by 9:30 is a good guideline.  Sleep in 1 weekend morning, say an extra 1-2 hours longer than the working week.   Both these practises will give you a surprising degree of resilience.

There is plenty of evidence both “common knowledge” and research based, that support the notion that extra rest is very powerful in keeping us well.

PHYSIOLOGY TIP:  The body repairs and heals during rest, – think rest in hospital to get better.  Induced coma to give the body a chance to put energy into repair and recovery.

Exercise every day.

Really! I hear you say.  There are so many benefits of movement, there isn’t enough ink in the world to record them all!  Take the NIKE approach and just “do it”.

Moving with intensity that is at your level, will dissipate adrenaline and reduce stress markers.  This will boost immunity – beginning to make sense?

The High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT, is proven to be very powerful at triggering the body systems to move toward better function.

Name  some HIIT exercise I hear you ask…  How about skipping for 2 minutes,  stationary bike for 10 sec bursts 5 x in 5 minutes, run some stairs, 50 body weight squats without stopping, – you’re getting the idea.

No chatting possible in this exercise style – you’ll be too puffed!  Excellent stuff.

Serious BUT.  Never do this type of exercise if your are tired and feel that you might be coming down with something!   Your energy will be too low to recover and fight the bugs in your system.  Sleep is the answer at that point.

Eat Fresh with lots of colour

Fresh foods that have a high level of green / yellow / orange will provide good nutrients to support good health and immunity.

The Greens will provide chlorophyl – great for liver health

The Yellow/Orange will offer Vitamin A essential for cell health – particularly the cell wall.

Fresh means picked today or in the last few days.  Shopping once a week means that the veggies are a few weeks old by the time they get to your plate at the end of the week.  Many nutrients are not longer present by that time.

Supplements 

This is often a confusing area for many.   Some authorities still recommend that supplements are unnecessary if your diet is good.  I would suggest that that is true if you grow your own in awesome soil that is busting with minerals and beneficial bacteria and you go from garden to table on the same day.  Mostly that is not the case for our food or its freshness, so simple supplements are highly recommended.

Good old Vitamin C is enjoying a come back. It wasn’t cool because it was so familiar, however, its role is so well documented that you can Google that yourself.  It is very protective so include a good quality buffered mineralised version with co-factors such as Bioflavonoids, Vit A & E and Zinc.

A good quality mineral blend is also very important – this will support so many chemical reactions in your body, they are pretty essential.  Again the soil has to have them before they are in your food, and some don’t last long if the food isn’t fresh.

Chiropractic adjustment 

The work of Roger Sperry in the 80s showed the impact of poor posture and body distortion on the nervous system and brain activity.  The more twisted the posture the higher the level of brain activity to keep you upright in gravity.  Stress reduces immunity – that is not in dispute.

Being strong and stable in gravity is a great boost to your immunity, because it frees up resources and energy to fight infections.  HOS has collected client data for over 20 years and we can say that as individuals posture and stability improve their resilience to infection is much improved.

Does that sound like 5 things you could include in your week starting today!

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