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6 Ways to Support Your Immune System

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

The date is Monday 6th April and as I write this at the beginning of the third week of quarantine in the United Kingdom the nation is struggling to cope with the COVID-19. This is a challenging period for everyone. We are all facing issues new to us and with long-lasting effects. In a time like this, it is easy to feel like there is nothing we can do. This is not the case.

Aside from following government guidelines regarding social distancing and quarantine, the most important thing we can do is to STAY HEALTHY. I cannot stress this enough. In the decade or more that I have been a personal trainer, this point has never held more importance than it does now.

A healthy body is a strong and resilient body, and whilst there are no ways to "boost" your immune system beyond its natural capacities, being fit and healthy allows all your bodies systems to work optimally. It is certainly possible to "boost your immune system" if your immune system isn't working properly because of your dietary and lifestyle choices!

So, here are 6 tips to help keep you healthy and resilient during this period:

Stay Active

Exercise affects our health and immune system in a multitude of ways. In terms of overall health, exercise helps to:

  • reduce the risk of coronary heart disease

  • reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes

  • reduce the risk of certain types of cancer

  • reduce the risk of osteoarthritis

  • improve mood

  • reduce the rate of cognitive decline

  • maintain a healthy body weight

This last point is especially important as "coronaviruses can cause more severe symptoms and complications in people with obesity-related conditions" (1).

In terms of the immune systems and upper-respiratory infections specifically, exercise supports the immune system by (2) (3):

  • increasing the flow of antibodies and white blood cells around the body

  • reducing stress levels

  • activating innate antiviral immunity

  • reducing inflammation

  • raising core temperature

The exercise guidelines in this situation are simple. Any form of exercise which raises your heart rate, core temperature and breathing rate is recommended. If it is sunny, get outside and work out (whilst government recommendations to do so remain in place). Go for a jog or cycle, try hill sprints, do a workout in your garden or park. If you require a programme or online coaching see how we could help.

A word of warning - Do not overdo it. Overtraining can actually suppress the immune system due to the increase of, and prolonged exposure to, stress (4).


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Eat Real Food

I have written extensively on the subject of nutrition and the importance of eating a natural diet. Whole, natural foods provide us with proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and other health-promoting compounds which allow the body to function optimally.