Life is busy and sometimes it’s all too easy to put your health in the backseat. A strong immune system is critical to your health and wellbeing. It naturally helps you body fight off viruses. “It’s particularly important right now to maintain your immune system so that you can fight viruses,” says Neha Vyas, M.D., a family medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic and assistant clinical professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Luckily, there are some things you can do right now to boost your immune system! Take these key steps to build a stronger immune system and keep yourself as healthy as possible so you can tackle life!
First thing first, get plenty of sleep. When you don’t get enough shut-eye, you’re more likely to get sick according to research. Your immune system is working even while you sleep. According to Good Housekeeping, “It releases proteins that you need in order to fight off an infection or inflammation.” So make sure you aren’t depriving yourself of a good night’s rest. The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep; young people need nine to ten hours of sleep. Your body will thank you!
Of course, you might have been expecting this one, but you need to exercise often. Studies show that even moderate physical activity may decrease the rate of infection for viruses like the flue. Exercise also has been proven to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. “Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, helps produce ‘feel good chemicals,’ and helps you get a good night’s sleep,” says Dr. Vyas.
Now those two key steps seem easy enough, right? Well this one might be a little more difficult to manager: reduce stress. In this day and age, it’s hard to keep the stress to a minimum. Life is crazy! But it’s important to take time to calm your body down. When under stress, the body responds. “Over time, increased stress ups your body’s production of cortisol, which can lower your body’s white cell count,” explains Dr. Vyas. “That’s one of the mechanisms your body has to fight infection.” She suggests working meditation and self-reflection into your day. Try meditating and self-reflecting, maybe even talk therapy. Something to calm yourself down.