Surgical masks and hand sanitisers are some of the most sought after items in the recent Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak globally. But do you know that the first line of defence starts from within?
While adopting good personal hygiene is one of the main precautionary measures we can take to safeguard our personal health and wellbeing, we need to ensure our immune system is at its prime. Simply put, the immune system is the inner warrior of our body; it fights against any bacteria, viruses, parasites and any harmful or foreign pathogens. In the face of the current situation, it is critical we strengthen our immune system with these 5 simple ways for a stronger defence against the viruses.
Exercise and Workout Frequently
Regular exercise contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. Exercising also promotes good circulation and this allows the cells as well as the substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. If you are well, there is no reason for you to stop exercising and have a good sweat.
Researchers at the University of California-San Diego of Medicine found that as little as 20 minutes of exercise can have anti-inflammatory effects that boost your immune system. On top of that, medical research has also proven that working out regularly reduces your chance of contracting communicable diseases including viral and bacterial infections.
However, it is important to keep in mind not to overexert yourself with too many back-to-back workouts and be sure to include sufficient rest and recovery in between.
According to Psychology Today, some experts claim that stress is responsible for as much as 90% of all illnesses and diseases as the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system, which then releases an array of hormones which will severely depresses our immunity.
For a stronger immune system, it is necessary for you to find ways to relieve your stress. One way is through a commonly-known exercise – Yoga. Relax your mind and body in a quiet and meditative session which focuses on slow stretches, flexibility and deep breathing. A study by the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health concluded that yoga has an effective role in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
On top of that, Yoga is also widely known to help in improving sleep among people suffering from chronic insomnia and this brings us into the next point on why having adequate sleep helps in boosting our immune system.
Have Adequate Sleep
As mentioned by Healthline, German researchers concluded that with adequate sleep, it helps the immune cells which is also known as the T cells in our body, to fight off infection.
The T cells play an important role in our body’s immune system and if one does not get enough sleep, the stress hormones in the body may inhibit the ability of T cells to function effectively.
In order to ensure that the T cells function effectively in the body, it is recommended that adults achieve a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night. Hence, put your mobile phone aside and head to bed early tonight!
Be Fit With The Right Food
Antioxidants are molecules that boost the immune system by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. According to ActiveSG, our immune system requires vitamins and minerals to function at an optimum level hence it is important for us to include food high in Vitamin C in our daily diet. Known to be a strong antioxidant, Vitamin C is able to strengthen our body’s natural defenses. A few examples of these immune boosters are citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach.
Apart from the fruits and vegetables, garlic and chili, are also flavour-enhancing ingredients which aids in boosting our immune system, as stated by the Singapore Health Hub.
So start whipping up your 3 meals with the ingredients mentioned above and work your way up to be fighting fit.
Toxins built up in our body can weaken our immune system and drinking water allows our kidneys to remove toxins from our body.
So the question is: “How much water intake is the best for me then?”
When it comes to water intake, it varies according to each individual due to the difference in how our body works and in our lifestyle. However, you can try judging from the following points by Mayo Clinic, to know when your water intake is adequate:
1. You rarely feel thirsty
2. Your urine is colourless or light yellow
Bask In The Sun
Research has shown that Vitamin D is likely able to reduce the likelihood of developing flu and it is produced when our skin is exposed to the sunlight.
World Health Organization suggested that getting anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands and face 2-3 times a week is enough to enjoy the Vitamin D-boosting benefits of the sun. During this short sun-tanning session, be sure not to wear sunscreen as it might halt the production of Vitamin D!
Most important of all, the strongest defence is a collective one. It is strongly encouraged that all members and guests practice good sweat etiquette by placing towels on equipment and mats before use, and wiping down thoroughly with sanitisers and towels after use. Wash your hands regularly with hands and soap, seek medical attention promptly and refrain from working out should you feel unwell.
We should not let our fear take over us and always keep in mind to stay calm and stay clean so we can all carry on with life!
Read our FAQs on COVID-19 to learn about the precautionary measures Fitness First has taken so far.
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