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How to Boost Your Immunity Through Exercise and Diet

Winter is a beautiful season, but it can also see with it the onset of the dreaded colds and flus (and apparently it will be quite a severe flu season!)

There are many things you can do to keep your health in check during winter, especially when it comes to exercise and diet!

Exercise is crucial for maintaining good health all year round, but it is particularly important during winter when the immune system is often weakened. Did you know that regular exercise has been shown to boost the immune system, reducing the risk of infections and illnesses such as the common cold and flu?

One study conducted by the University of South Carolina found that people who exercised regularly had 23% fewer colds than those who were sedentary. Exercise increases the circulation of immune cells in the body, helping them move freely and efficiently throughout the body, which ultimately boosts the immune system.

Here are some of our favourite tips for staying motivated to exercise:

  • Find a workout partner – Enlist the help of a friend or family member to keep you accountable and motivated. Set regular workout dates and encourage each other to stay on track.
  • Switch it up – Keep your exercise routine interesting by trying out different types of workouts, such as yoga, weightlifting, or swimming.
  • Set realistic goals – Setting achievable exercise goals can help you stay motivated and focused. Start with small goals, such as exercising for 20 minutes a day, and gradually increase your goals over time.
  • Establish a routine – Establishing a consistent exercise routine can help you make exercise a habit. Choose a specific time of day to work out, and make it a priority to stick to that schedule.
  • Treat yourself – Celebrate your exercise achievements by rewarding yourself with something healthy and enjoyable, such as a nutritious meal, a massage, or a new workout outfit. This can help keep you motivated and on track.

Alongside exercise, our diet is also important during winter, as certain foods can help boost the immune system and prevent illnesses. 

A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can help provide the body with essential vitamins and nutrients that are crucial for immune function. Some foods that are particularly beneficial for the immune system include citrus fruits, leafy greens, and garlic.

To eat healthily during the winter months, it’s important to plan your meals ahead of time and stock up on healthy snacks like fruits and nuts. Soups and stews are also great options for winter meals, as they are warming, filling, and packed with healthy ingredients.

A good diet can lead to better gut health, and gut health is also closely linked to the immune system and overall health. The gut is home to trillions of bacteria, known as the gut microbiome, which plays a crucial role in digestion and nutrient absorption. It also helps to regulate the immune system, as over 70% of the immune system is located in the gut.

Research has shown that a healthy gut microbiome can help prevent a range of health problems, including mental health issues like depression and anxiety. One study conducted by the University of Oxford found that participants who took a probiotic supplement had reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, compared to those who took a placebo.

To maintain a healthy gut, it’s important to eat a diet rich in fibre, which helps feed the good bacteria in the gut. Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut are also great sources of probiotics, which can help boost the gut microbiome. Avoiding processed foods and excessive sugar can also help keep the gut healthy.

At On The Go Rehab, our mobile team of experts can support you with supporting your exercise and diet goals. If you are being held back by injuries and a condition, it’s time to talk to our friendly team.

 References:

Nieman DC. Exercise, upper respiratory tract infection, and the immune system. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994;26(2):128-139.

Hemilä H. Vitamin C and common cold-induced asthma: a systematic review and statistical analysis. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2013;34(2):152-158

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