If you’re looking for a silver lining in this pandemic crisis it may be your health and fitness. How ironic that it’s taking a pandemic for the message to be loud and clear that exercise is critical for every individual that wants to be strong and resilient.
If you couldn’t find the time, motivation or you felt taking care of yourself was selfish before COVID19 (BC), your obstacles have been removed. Besides that, there’s also no shortage of workouts online during this crisis.
But are they all good for you? Is it as easy as just picking random YouTube videos or Pilates, or Barre or fusion workouts streaming at any time you want?
What is the best exercise for a strong immune system?
Whether you’re an exercise enthusiast or a newbie choosing exercise for a strong immune system right now is not the same as it was just weeks ago. You’re dealing with stress and that reduces your ability to recover from exercise. Exercise is stress.
If we consciously control it and adjust during this time we can build a strong immune system.
Women in menopause are more susceptible to the negative effects of stress due to changes in sex hormones. We’re all experiencing some level of stress right now making it necessary to avoid the additional stress of too much exercise. You have to seek a new “sweet spot.” You don’t want to exercise too little or too much.
Don’t be confused by advice to exercise moderately. The truth is that advice is leftover from the 80s and 90s. A better way to use the term moderate in relation to exercise is to do a moderate amount of high and low-intensity exercise.
This is definitely not the time to be thinking more is better, at least not where volume is concerned.
Mid-intensity exercise is actually what I refer to as “no benefits zone.” It sabotages your results, especially for women in midlife. Hormone balancing benefits, including reducing cortisol, occurs most optimally from exercise intensities that are higher or lower. Your immune system benefits optimally from those very same intensities.
Contrary to what you might think, high-intensity exercise is actually one of the best ways to boost your immune system.
A single bout of high-intensity exercise increased cells associated with immunity 5x. The increase in immune cells was greatest in subjects who were of moderate fitness level before the study, compared to athletes in the study.
Whether you’re just beginning or you’ve exercised regularly for decades, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is something to consider. HIIT doesn’t require special or any equipment.
During the crisis, more frequent, shorter duration choices are the best exercise for a strong immune system. Do high-intensity intervals for 15 minutes in the morning, take a brisk walk with the dog at noon, do a strength training session late afternoon.
On another day strength train in the morning, clean and organize the house in the afternoon, stroll after dinner.
These are the 3 most important things you can do. You may not see some of your favorite trending exercises here. You can fill in with them. But in 36 years, I’ve yet to see a study about the immune-boosting quality of a barre exercise class. (Don’t shoot the messenger: I minored in dance in college). Prioritize time and energy into the best exercise for a strong immune system. Fill in with the rest.
Concern about the “quarantine 15” is real while we’re at home, stressed, and emotional eating. Exercise of the right duration and intensity will not just build a strong immune system, but it will also help stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day. You’ll be in better control of your choices.
It may be helpful to plan your exercise before meals as research suggests that even a few minutes of exercise before a meal improves healthy choices at each meal.
Most of us will agree that if you’ve done your body good with exercise in the morning, you’re more likely to make more good decisions all day. All of them will influence your immune system.
Among the women in my global community, the common obstacle during COVID19 for all women has been the struggle to find a routine. My advice is to create a plan. Whether you’re at home alone or surrounded by more family members than you’re used to, things have changed. Sit down with the list of what things have to happen in your day along with your exercise and ink yourself in first. Exercise breaks can actually serve as an anchor in your day that’s missing right now.
Exercise is Medicine, so much that the American Medical Association and the American College of Sports Medicine partnered to create that program years ago. Here’s why we need to embrace this right now: A single bout of exercise enhances your antibacterial and antiviral immunity.
If you’re wiping down shopping carts, wearing a mask and gloves, sheltering at home and not exercising optimally? You are missing one of the most proactive ways to take charge of your health. Here’s to a healthier you during and after COVID19.