Did you know that being physically active can actually boost your immune system? Here are some ways a healthy lifestyle can help boost immune function, lower stress, and improve sleep!
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS ESSENTIAL
According to public health organizations, regular physical activity can help support your health in several ways:
- Regular physical activity boosts immune system by promoting good circulation that “allows the cells and substances of the immune system to do their job efficiently”. 
- Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, while strengthening muscles and preventing loss of bone density. 
- Regular physical activity helps combat cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes (and reducing susceptibility to other illnesses). [1 & 2]
FUEL YOUR BODY, FUEL YOUR HEALTH
What we eat affects how our immune system reacts to diseases and infections:
- A deficiency of certain nutrients like zinc, iron, folic acid and certain vitamins can alter the body’s immune response and lead to a greater risk of bacterial, viral and other infections. 
- Eating a diet consisting of mostly “ultra-processed foods” like soft drinks, chips and candy can negatively affect a healthy immune system. 
- Eating nutrient-rich foods (whole grains, chicken, nuts and leafy greens, etc.), can positively affect the immune system by working as an antioxidant to protect healthy cells, support immune cells and produce antibodies. 
STRESS MANAGEMENT MEANS BETTER HEALTH
Staying mentally healthy can mean better immunity, and a stronger body:
- Long-term periods of stress can lead to health problems like high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease 
- Negative stress can also suppress the immune system, increasing susceptibility to physical and mental illnesses, including colds, anxiety and depression 
- Studies have shown that having social support in your wellness journey helps reduce stress and decrease the effects of anxiety and depression. 
The YMCA offers a wide range of cardio exercises. Walking Tracks, treadmills, stair climbers, group exercise classes, and water aerobics classes! From Basketball to swimming the YMCA offers the physical activity ideal for boosting your immune system. All branches of the YMCA are great for older adults. The Lake Wylie Branch is specifically for active older adults (50+ only).
The Upper Palmetto YMCA has lots of ways to keep you moving and active!
Want to take your health and fitness to the next level? Click below to learn more about joining the Upper Palmetto YMCA and check out our fitness schedules!
Visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/upymca
For more reading check out this blog by Dr. Richard J. Simpson on Exercise, Immunity, and the COVID-19 pandemic.