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Tulsa’s Changing Weather, Exercise to Stay Healthy
This weekend will be the first dip into fall temperatures, causing many to reach into the back of their closets for that light jacket or coat they have not seen in several months. With highs in the 100 to 90 degree range only a few short weeks ago, our bodies are sensitive to not only a change in temperate, but also humidity and pressure. One of the best ways we can help our bodies adjust to seasonal changes in temperature and weather is to be active and exercise, boosting our immune system, circulation and overall mood.
The first of October is the beginning of the cold and flu season for many people across the country. Now is the time to help ward off the cold and flu by treating exercise like a daily medication you need to take to avoid getting sick. Researchers have found that regular moderate exercise can help lessen your chances of getting sick. If you do get sick, according to recent studies, those who exercise regularly tend to be less sick than those who don’t exercise as often. People who exercised five days or more a week had the lowest incidents of illness. One of the reasons researchers believe is people who exercise regularly have lower levels stress hormones in their blood, which improves immunity. (there are also other theories – if you think I need to explain further, I can add that in)
Best Exercise for Immune System
Walking: Regular, consistent exercise is key to boosting your immune system in the fall and winter months. One of the most accessible and easiest exercises to commit to is walking. When the weather is nice, head outside to get the added benefit of vitamin D. Even walking 10 minutes a day improves your heart health. Incorporate walking into at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to boost the amount of leukocytes, an immune system cell that fights colds and infections, in your system.
Yoga & Stretching: When most of us think of yoga, we think of centering ourselves and long periods of stretching. While yoga itself has many different levels of practice, the immune boosting component of yoga rests in the calming and stress-reducing aspects. Yoga helps to reduce the level of stress hormones in our system.
Strength & Endurance Training: Moderate strength training builds muscles and a protein reserve your body can tap into when illness strikes. That protein reserve can help your body create the white blood cells and antibodies needed to fight infection. Make sure you do not over do it when it comes to lifting weights. Exercise that is too strenuous on the body can have the opposite effect and compromise your immune system. Try to incorporate one to two days of strength training a week into your regular workouts.
Track Exercise and Stick with It
The true benefit of exercise is revealed overtime, consistently promoting a healthy weight, improved physical and emotional health, and boosting immunity to fight infection. There are several ways to keep exercise a consistent part of your daily routine.
Find a Buddy: It is one thing to tell yourself you aren’t going to the gym, it is another thing to not show up when someone is expecting you. Find a buddy to build added support and accountability into your exercise regime.
Track it Online: There are a variety of online tools and apps that help you set goals, track your workouts and share with a community of supporters. Search “track exercise (or walking, running, etc) online” to find a tool that works best for you.
Support Exercise with Diet: Help get the most out of your workouts by supporting your effort with a healthy, balanced diet. Getting the proper nutrition during the cold and flu season is also critical to maintaining a healthy immune system.
How do you stay healthy during the cold and flu season? Share your tips on our Facebook page!