As you get older, it’s natural to start feeling more tired and run-down than you did when you were younger. And, as we age, our immune systems tend to weaken, making us more vulnerable to different infections and illnesses. But if we’ve learned one thing about aging, it’s that there are proactive ways to protect yourself and your loved ones around you. You can achieve this by taking the right measures to boost your immune system, and here are some key steps to help you do just that:
- Maintain A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is the cornerstone of good health, and it’s especially important for seniors. Seniors should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains in their diets for well-balanced nutrition. Not only will these foods provide more energy and strength, but they also help fight inflammation, prevent chronic diseases, and fortify your immune system with the necessary vitamins to combat viruses.
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- The More You Move, The Better
Another essential component of a healthy lifestyle is exercise. Seniors should aim to get regular exercise, such as brisk walking, yoga, or swimming. Wondering how exercise helps boost our immune system? Here’s how:
- Stimulates cellular immunity - exercise helps increase the circulation of the immune system’s best defensive cells, in turn allowing the body to become more resistant to infection.
- Helps you sleep better.
- Decreases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases.
- Decreases stress by slowing down the release of stress hormones.
- Reduces inflammation - moderate exercise with needed rest periods helps improve the effectiveness of your body’s inflammatory immune response.
If you’re looking for different ways seniors stay active, check out this blog post.
- Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water is crucial to maintaining good health while keeping your immune system functioning well. Staying hydrated naturally helps your body eliminate the toxins and bacteria that cause infection, while also aiding in digestion and kidney function. Seniors should aim to drink plenty of water, herbal teas, and other healthy beverages daily. Avoiding sugary drinks (such as soda) and alcohol is important as they can weaken the immune system and cause dehydration.
TIP: We suggest always keeping a reusable water bottle with you in order to achieve your goal of consuming 6-8 glasses of water per day.
- Get Quality Sleep
Getting enough sleep is another important step toward boosting your immune system. While you sleep and the body is resting, your immune system gets a chance to fight off different invaders including bacteria and viruses. If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, we recommend implementing the following:
- Get into a regular routine - going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning.
- Make your bedroom as dark as possible - you can achieve this by installing blackout curtains or blinds.
- Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night - prioritize sleep by building your daily schedule around bedtime.
Click here to learn more about how to sleep better as you age.
- Reduce Stress
Although life can get stressful, chronic stress is sure to weaken your immune system. When we are stressed, the body’s cortisol levels increase, which suppresses your immune system’s effectiveness and makes you much more susceptible to dangerous infections and diseases. It’s critical to find ways that work best for you to manage stress. These may include the following:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Socializing with friends and family
If you’re looking to improve your health and boost your immune system, these tips are a great place to start. They can help keep you strong and healthy as you age, which will make it much easier for you to fight off illness when/if it does strike.