Taking time out for yourself is more important than ever while we work through the different emotions that come with the nationwide lockdown NZ is currently faced with. We came across some great tips to help strengthen your immune system - here are 5 top tips, simple things that you can start doing today to help improve your wellbeing.

1: Yoga

Yoga is a great approach for boosting the immune system, with classes easily available online. Yoga is linked to decreased inflammation. When we reduce inflammation our immune system functions more effectively. To get specific, meditation increases immune helper cells. These cells act as a communicator to alert the system that pathogens are present. Yoga is a great way to find clarity of mind by getting into our body!
Tip: take time out with yourself , shut your eyes, and go inwards even for 5 minutes a day. There’s more benefit to daily short meditation than the occasional hour long meditation.

2: Moderate, regular exercise

Regular moderate exercise decreases the inflammatory response and increases immune regulation. Exercise helps move and flush pathogens out of your airways, and causes antibodies and white blood cells to circulate more rapidly and to the farthest reaches of your vascular system. Exercise reduces the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol inhibits your immune system.
Tip: Take a 30 minute brisk walk, do a yoga class, bike ride, or work outdoors.

3: Nurture your diet

Nutrition is linked to your immune system directly by supplying the building blocks your body needs to function at peak performance. The quality of your food will determine the quality of your health.
Tip: Drink and extra 2 glasses of water per day, eat one more fruit and one more vegetable per day. Eliminate all sweetened drinks, fried food and foods with added sugars. Eat white grains and whole grains instead. Snack on a handful of nuts.

4: Get enough sleep

It’s easier said than done sometimes with the demands of the modern busy world. Science says 7-8 hours sleep is needed for optimal health. Deficient sleep increases our chances of getting sick, and it also prolongs our recovery. Your body produces and releases cytokines when you sleep. Cytokines are proteins that target inflammation.
Tip: Make sleep a priority and alter your routine to prioritise sleep- and follow the other tips in this post (especially exercise!) and you’ll sleep better.

5: Cut back on alcohol

Drinking alcohol has a negative effect on your immune system. This is a tough one – especially when in lockdown but alcohol changes how your gut microbiome interacts with your immune system, disrupts our intestinal barrier, and reduces function of your immune cells in your lungs.
Tip: Replace your glass of wine with a soda water or organise your video-call catch ups to be with a cuppa instead of an alcoholic drink, or maybe even alternate your alcoholic drinks with glasses of water. The more you drink alcohol the more your immune system is adversely affected.

For the full article, reference www.heartandmindyoga.co.nz.