For the past one year, since COVID-19 hit our nation, experts are talking about building immunity. Immunity building was always an important topic but seeing the current situation, it is the need of the hour in order to survive for long. Immunity building is a fight against coronavirus infection. However, we are not claiming that immunity building can prevent you from getting the virus. To be safe, you need to wear a double mask, maintain social distance, wash your hands frequently and eat healthy.
We know various foods that can help boost immunity during coronavirus outbreak. But have you ever heard that regular physical activity can also help in building immunity? You may have heard several times the impact of exercise on your overall health, body and mind.
Exercise has so many amazing health benefits. It is great for your mental health, stress levels, and provides you quality of sound sleep. Additionally, exercise can help lower the risk of medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Exercise can surely, we mean definitely can help boost your immune system.
Can exercise boost immunity?
- Regular physical activity can boost immunity levels to fight off infections.
- Several exercise routines can build immunity to fight various kinds of bacteria and viruses and not just coronavirus.
- Regular physical activity allows cells to perform effectively. Exercise can reduce stress levels, elevate blood flow, reduce inflammation and can strengthen antibodies.
- Exercise also helps to lift your mood.
The question is, how does exercise help build immunity?
When you exercise, you always feel fresh and better, isn’t it? Have you ever wondered why?
The reason is exercise helps to flush out bacteria out of your lungs and airways which thereby reduces the risk of getting flu or cold. Exercise helps to change antibodies that fights disease. As the blood circulates in the body once you start to exercise, the same way antibodies circulate more rapidly and prevent or fight infection. Exercise also slows down the release of stress hormones thus protecting you from illness.
All the above scientific theories will convince you to exercise daily. However, these are all theories and nothing has been proved yet. But there is no loss and only gain. So, what’s stopping you!
Exercise safely during the coronavirus pandemic:
Given the current situation, we understand it is not viable to go to the gym. Even though you cannot attend gyms, you can either enroll yourself in online fitness classes at the comfort of your home or indulge in physical activity on your own at home. We know it can be tricky working out at home but a 10- minute walk or 1000 steps can be good to start with. Exercising at home can prevent you from getting exposed to Coronavirus germs and falling sick.
If you’re a beginner- start with jump ropes, spot jogging, basic core exercises, push-ups, squats, lunges. You don’t necessarily need equipment while working out. You can workout using your own body weight which will equally help you boost your stronger immune system while keeping you fit and healthy.
We understand cities like Mumbai may have some space crunch. But don’t you worry, you can perform all bodyweight workouts indoors just with a space of one mat or do something on your building terrace if that’s available. You can watch and follow some really good coaches fitness videos or some workout apps to stay fit. Just try moving some furniture, and you’re all good to go.
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- Try to workout at least 3-4 times a week for a span of 30 minutes.
- You can do activities such as Yoga, walking, HIIT, cardio etc.
- A small amount of exercise can also benefit in building a strong immune system compared to no efforts taken.
Yoga poses to boost immunity naturally:
Yoga is an ancient way of staying fit. It is more important than ever before to fight infections especially when the disease is air-borne such as COVID-19. You can surely take supplements to boost your immunity. Even Yoga poses can help boost immunity naturally.
- Anulom Vilom:
This is a well-known breathing technique. Sit in a Sukhasana pose (cross-legged position) Do this asana for 5 minutes daily.
How to do it:
- Start by taking a deep breath while closing your left nostril with your left thumb.
- Now inhale from the right nostril and with the help of an index finger press the other side of your nose.
- Now exhale while releasing your thumb from the left nostril.
- Repeat the process with the opposite side of the nostril.
- You can watch and learn from YouTube videos as well.
The meaning of Kapalbhati is “shining forehead.” This is again a breathing technique that helps to flush out toxins from the body. This is a great Yoga pose for boosting immunity. Do this asana for 5 minutes daily.
How to do it:
- Sit in a sukhasana position.
- Keep your spine straight.
- Keep your palms on the thighs such that the palms are facing towards the ceiling.
- Exhale deep breaths and while exhaling, pull your stomach inwards as strongly as you can.
- Bhastrika Pranayama:
This is also a vital breathing technique when it comes to yoga. It involves forceful breathing to calm the mind and soul. It also removes toxins from the system. This is a better way to build strong immunity. Do this asana for 5 minutes daily.
How to do it:
- Sit in a sukhasana position.
- Make a fist and place your hands near the shoulders.
- Take deep breaths and while inhaling raise your hands upwards, releasing the fist to open.
- Exhale and repeat.
Apart from these listed breathing techniques, you must exercise daily to boost immunity, get a fitter, healthy body and mind. Exercise makes you feel energetic and healthier. You can choose exercise that makes you feel good about yourself. Do not limit yourself to Yoga or a Walk. Try different exercises to build immunity and lift your mood at the sametime.
At the end:
Exercise alone cannot be the end solution. Eating healthy and regular physical activity goes hand in hand. Make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Try to include antioxidants rich food in your diet. Making sure to get enough sleep, say 8 hours of sound sleep is equally crucial for a healthy mind and body especially during coronavirus pandemic.
Take this time to read, cook, gardening, try your hands at hobbies you always cherished! Spend time with your loved ones, get organised, talk to your dear ones on call. Introspect. In a nutshell, make use of this time to do what you always wished you could (except for traveling and loitering around).
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