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5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
It’s prime cold and flu season, and this year there’s been a particularly severe flu epidemic. In fact, according to information reported from CNN, this is the first year the entire United States is seeing the same level of flu activity, all at the same time. The rate of hospitalizations from the flu doubled between the months of December and January, with individuals suffering complications from the illness that include pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and even congestive heart failure.
This is why keeping your immune system in top condition this time of year is key to staying healthy and enjoying a higher quality of life. However, as you age, you become more susceptible to infections, especially when you’re spending more time indoors where germs tend to linger in the air.
The Importance of a Healthy Immune System — and How to Give it a Boost
Seniors are more at risk for the infections mentioned above because of the fact that our immune system changes as we age. It can become slower to respond, or you may have less immune cells to help you recover and heal in a timely manner. Autoimmune disorders also become more common in older adults, as sometimes the immune system becomes less able to identify foreign antigens that can cause illness.
Indeed, germs are all around us, and it’s important to take certain measures to ensure your immune system is strong and working as well as it possibly can. Luckily, there are things you can do to give your immune system the boost it may need this season. Here are five ways to ensure a healthy immune system:
- Ditch unhealthy habits. There’s still time to make a New Year’s resolution to quit unhealthy habits. Smoking, in particular, weakens your immune system, and you should also aim to limit the amount of alcohol you consume. Additionally, look for ways to reduce the stress in your life, whether through meditation, exercise, or building social connections. Constantly feeling stressed out can take a toll on your health and make you more vulnerable to illness and infection.
- Add foods rich in vitamins for your immune system. Don’t get stuck in a food rut this year! Focus on eating healthier options like fruits and veggies, which are rich in vitamins, as well as beta-carotene and zinc. Also, a low-fat diet with plenty of whole grains and lean proteins can help keep you lean and strong. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, too. You need at least eight glasses of water per day to keep your mucous membranes moist — your daily coffee, tea, or soup all count as water!
- Exercise every day. Staying active helps strengthen your immune system to better fight off those nasty infections. Thirty minutes of regular exercise a day can help keep the doctor away! In fact, studies have shown that people who don’t exercise are more likely to get colds than those who do. Find an exercise you enjoy doing, whether it’s walking, swimming, or dancing, to keep your body and your immune system strong.
- Make time for social activities. It’s true; keeping strong social connections also makes for a strong immune system. Studies show that seniors who are lonely tend to have elevated levels of proteins associated with inflammation and poor immune systems. Plus, you’ll enjoy a variety of other benefits, including better mental and emotional health.
- Enjoy a good night’s sleep. Getting enough rest every night allows your immune system proper time to regain its strength to fight off infections. For adults, it’s recommended to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, so, create a calming nighttime routine and enjoy your Z’s.
A Healthy, Enriching Lifestyle at Advent Christian Village
Fulfill your mind, body, and spirit and find ways to live a healthy, engaging lifestyle at Advent Christian Village in Dowling Park, Florida. You can be as busy as you want to be, meeting up with others for a Zumba class, volunteering in the retail shops, or joining the garden club. Or, head to Copeland Community Center for an invigorating workout designed to keep you healthy year-round. Contact us to schedule a tour or to request more information.