Many people get sick when seasons change. This is the body’s natural response to attacks it’s not prepared for by foreign substances such as allergens and viruses. But sickness is avoidable if you dedicate time and effort to preparing your body for it. Here are four ways to give your body the strength it needs to recover faster and prevent sickness this season and the next.
1. Strengthen Your Immunity
To fight off sickness you must keep every part of your body healthy, from your mental health to the balance of your digestive system, and having great immunity has never been more important than it is in present times. The threat of COVID-19 is at the top of many people’s minds, but some feel as though this virus cannot be fought off. It can!
To boost your immunity to viruses, do more of the good and less of the bad. Sleep more, exercise more, and eat more nutritionally-rich food; likewise, keep stress to a minimum, avoid bad habits like overconsuming alcohol and smoking, and try to maintain a positive relationship with your body. But of course, use common sense no matter how strong your immune system is. Avoid people that are sick and practice proper hygiene. Your immune system can only do so much—you are still responsible for making good decisions such as wearing a mask, socially distancing, etc.
In addition to all of these, give your immune system a leg-up with probiotics. Probiotics build up your gut flora, which makes you more resistant to bad bacteria. There are many probiotics on the market, but there is no one-size-fits-all supplement. Some bodies require more of one bacteria than another. This is why it is important to speak with your doctor about what probiotics are right for you and not to rely too heavily on supplements. Kombucha and other fermented foods such as yogurt and kimchi are rich in live active cultures your gut will love and they are a healthy and natural way to meet your probiotic requirements.
2. Eat a Well-Rounded Diet
Aside from vitamins, your diet should contain antioxidants such as zinc as well as plenty of healthy nutrients and minerals from plants like fiber and iron. That means more superfoods on the menu and fewer empty carbs. Luckily, more foods are super than you might think, and you probably already love many of them.
Good old garlic, for example, is considered a superfood. With its powerful immune-boosting properties and disease-fighting minerals like sulfur, garlic has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Other superfoods include kale, olive oil, blueberries, kefir (yogurt), and turmeric. Superfood smoothies are one of the easiest ways to consume a lot of ultra-healthy foods at once and they’re as delicious as they are nutritious.
Always steer clear of additives and processed foods when possible. Refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which contribute to high triglycerides or blood fat, should be avoided at all costs. These can disable your immune system and you should never give your body more work to do than is absolutely necessary. Whole grains, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables should form the base of your diet.
Are you getting enough vitamin A, B, C, and D? Chances are you’re coming up short in at least one. For instance, many people are lacking vitamin D. The benefits of this vitamin are many—such as good bone health and disease prevention—, but vitamin D deficiencies can be found in almost 42% of U.S. adults. Similarly, those with celiac disease or immune system disorders may be predisposed to a vitamin B12 deficiency, which is bad news for blood and digestive systems. Foods that contain high concentrations of both vitamins include fish, eggs, and dairy products.
3. Move Your Body
There are different types of exercise that every person should do—such as aerobic, strength, balance, and flexibility—, but the exact routine that’s right for you is at your discretion. Would swimming be better for you than running? Do you have any past injuries to account for? How much time can you commit to exercising? Choose a type of exercise that meets your needs. Do makes sense for your body type, aspirations, and health.
But be careful: you should be encouraged and inspired by your goals, not motivated to lose weight or change your body because you don’t like the way you look. You might need to lose weight, but extreme or accelerated weight loss can be dangerous. Move your body in a way that makes you happy and helps you to feel energized and strong. Sometimes this will be stretching or low-intensity yoga; other times, you’ll feel on top of the world after running a 5K. Whatever you’re doing, XOH!DNAIR carries many types of workout apparel to keep you motivated and feeling great while doing it.
Don’t over-exert yourself when working out, especially when you’re ill. If you are sick, let your body take care of that before you ask it to help you recover from an intense workout. Light exercise like walking or biking is perfect for recovery periods and working out when sick.
4. Take Care of Your Mental Health
Mind your mind. Always remember that a healthy state of mind is just as important as everything else mentioned. Your happiness should be prioritized over everything else.
For example, eat healthy food but avoid dieting. Fad diets and other restrictive eating plans encourage unhealthy body image and tend to deprive your body of the nutrients it requires. This does your immune system a great disservice and will more than likely take a toll on your mental health too. Similarly, don’t choose a workout that you won’t look forward to just because it’ll burn the most fat—you’re not doing yourself any favors when you’re miserable.
To give yourself the best chance at a long and happy life, learn to think positively. Practice gratitude for what you have, patience with yourself and others, and never stop growing.