Boosting your spirits and immunity in the winter

Ahh, I’m laying in a hammock. The waves crash softly to the shore in the distance as the sun peeks through the palm trees above me. The taste of fresh mangoes faintly left in my mouth from the picking them off the tree on my walk down the beach. It is so warm I could faaaallll aaaahhsleeeeeep. Yawn.
Beep! Beep! Beep!

That was a dream, the beach is gone and instead winter is in full swing here in Bloomington, Indiana.  It can certainly be a challenge to beat the winter blues and stay healthy.  While the weather might not be conducive for long bicycle rides on the B-Line, finding a way to get regular moderate exercise can boost your immune system.  Bloomington is rife with gyms and classes but if that isn’t your style, bundling up on nicer days and going on a brisk walk or home exercises can also come in handy.  There is also, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, the mall.  Yes, the mall.  If you don’t have a gym membership is the longest indoor stretch you can walk in town.

My good friend, Jessica Mott, updates daily fitness challenges that last 4-10 minutes on her website, http://thrivebloomington.com/blog/.  She focuses on functional fitness for our every day lives.

Some information on how exercise boosts your immunity:

“Regular Exercise
Research findings about regular exercise are interesting. For example, researchers have found that:

  • those who exercise regularly have slight differences in their immune system compared to those who don’t exercise regularly
  • these differences may have many protective benefits for our body and within the immune system itself
  • a major difference is a decrease in prolonged inflammation for those who exercise regularly, for example, in people with heart disease (researchers argue that this decrease in inflammation can help to play a role in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes)

Researchers have also found that for those who exercise regularly, the immune system has a blunted stress response. This indicates the immune system has adapted to regular exercise and can tolerate this kind of stress much better. Just like our muscles adapt to exercise over time, so does our immune system.

Time to Get Moving
In general, it’s fair to say that research has shown that regular, moderate physical activity can be beneficial to your immune system.

If you are just beginning to exercise more often, here are some tips:

  • Take your time. Your immune system and the rest of your body will need time to adapt to regular exercise.
  • Start at a duration and intensity level you can easily manage. For some that may be 30 minutes, for others, it may be 10 minutes.
  • Keep in mind that positive changes in your immune system are just one small additional benefit you will get from regular exercise. There are many other health benefits as well, such as improved cardiovascular fitness and endurance, and improved flexibility, muscle strength and balance.” -From healthyalberta.com

Also, a little self promotion, Lymph Drainage Therapy can boost your immune system by increasing the production of lymphocytes.  Receiving a short treatment, or adding it into a massage, can help with sinus drainage and getting over a lingering illness.

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