As we grow older, we might be more prone to falling ill. Although it’s normal for our immune system to naturally weaken with age, we definitely do not wish to experience the severe side effects of illnesses that usually come with it. With a weakened immune system, a flu that might have lasted a day or two in our youth could potentially lead to a hospital stay or other complications once we’re in our sixties and seventies. As such, other than practicing the usual hygiene basics like washing our hands, we should also take extra care to boost our immune system and overall health. Here are some ways to boost your immune system as a senior.
Whether you work out on your own or as part of a senior-friendly exercise program, exercise keeps us healthy and strong. Research has shown that doing moderate exercises for 30 to 60 minutes every few days boosts our immune system – antibodies and white blood cells move faster throughout our bodies when we exercise, so they might be able to detect and kill any germs faster than if we were sedentary. Additionally, exercising lowers stress hormone levels in our body, making us less likely to fall sick.
Speaking of stress hormones, did you know that stress and anxiety suppress our immune system? Various studies have found that people who are stressed are twice as likely to fall sick as individuals who aren’t. This is because when we’re stressed, not only are our bodies more likely to produce inflammation-causing molecules, but we are also less likely to maintain healthy habits like eating and sleeping well. So, whenever you’re stressed, try breathing exercises or mindful meditation to calm down – your immune system will thank you for it!
As the saying goes, “you are what you eat”, so why not choose to eat what’ll make us healthy and strong? Loading up on the right food immensely strengthens our immune system. Keep your diet rich in fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, fermented food, and healthy fats, while cutting back on meat, fried food, alcohol, and processed food. This arms your immune system with sufficient vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, and other antioxidants, to fight infections. Complement your diet with any supplements recommended by your doctor, and of course, remember to consume eight to nine glasses of water each day.
Just as using a computer for too long causes it to overheat, not having regular rest can make us fall sick. According to researchers, having at least seven hours of sleep each night can make us four times less likely to come down with a cold than if we slept six or fewer hours a night. So be sure to have a good night’s sleep whenever you can; you’ll be doing your immune system a huge favor by simply giving it time to recharge each day.
If you’re looking for a beautiful senior living community where you can work with professionals to boost your immune system and overall health, Blue Ridge Assisted Living might just be the one for you. Get in touch with us or schedule a visit to learn more about our senior living options.