We all have an immune system. Some have a very strong immune system and some don’t. Genetic plays a role in determining how strong our immune system is at birth but lifestyle determines how well it functions as we age.
A great analogy I heard in a podcast was that our immune system is like an ever-present army. It provides 24/7 surveillance. It responds if it detects a threat of any kind, and then it clears out any of the debris left behind. I felt that was an effective way to think about this important part of our bodies that we never really think about – unless we get sick or hurt.
To state the obvious, during this time of COVID-19 having a strong immune system is an advantage. Actually, it’s THE advantage. The important thing to note is that we can keep our army in top-notch form – or close to it. There are tons of predators that want to infiltrate our bodies. Those predators we can’t do much about. In fact it is good to expose ourselves to some low grade threats because having no threats makes the army weak because of inactivity.
On the other end of the scale are the self-imposed types of threats that weaken the army because it’s depleted by being overworked. The biggest is stress. Stress comes from working long hours, eating junk food, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, staying up past bedtime, and consistent worrying. When you think about how we were living pre-COVID-19 it’s no wonder that this virus took over the world so quickly.
A healthy lifestyle is the best lifestyle if you’re interested in being healthy. If we stick with the “army” analogy and we imagine soldiers that make up the army – I would want those soldiers to be in true fighting condition. That means taking care of the basics such as getting eight hours (or close to it) of sleep per night, eating nutritious food because an army can’t be fuelled with chocolate bars and potato chips, and, exercising. In addition, there’s maintaining mental sharpness through activities like meditation, reading, or anything that brings a smile to your face. It’s never too late to make your army a little stronger. Start with one change. Go to bed earlier tonight. Pull an apple out of the fridge right now and eat it. Go for a walk, a run, a bike ride, a paddle, some Burpees, or read something that warms your heart. One small change can make a huge difference.
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