Updated: Apr 11, 2020
Ten Tips For A Healthy Quarantine Michael Katz M.S
The world is a frightening and uncertain place for all of us right now. Taking the reins on some types of control mechanisms will empower you and help you help yourself. Put simply, it’s your immune system’s job to defend your body against illness and disease such as bacteria and viruses, but it's YOUR JOB, to make sure it's functioning at its best. In this article I am going to outline some easy self-care tips and the rationale behind each tip and some suggestions to get you started. Actually, these are great strategies to utilize at all times to help keep you in shape mentally, physically and emotionally. Other than practicing good hygiene, here are 10 easy ways you can be your best during this time. Laughter is the best medicine(other than actual medicine)
This first thing I would suggest is to laugh. Laugh often,
laugh loud. Watch some old episodes of TV shows you previously enjoyed; listen to a podcast of a comedian you giggle with. Laughter relaxes your whole body, releasing endorphins and can relieve physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter also boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
Get some sun
Going outside right now might seem counter-intuitive but if you are appropriately and safely practicing social distancing, Vitamin D will boost your immune system via your adaptive immune response. Spending time in nature has also been shown to support mood, increase endorphins, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and support overall health. So, grab a book and catch some rays on your balcony, deck or porch while you’re at home.
Challenge yourself mentally
For ultimate immune health, you need ultimate brain health. You may not think your brain has anything to do with your immune system, but your brain is one of the major players. Do a word search, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or get to work on that side project you’ve been putting off for however many months. Your immune system will thank you.
Eat well to have good wellness
This may be especially challenging due to restrictions on going to the grocery store. Check your cupboards and see what you have! If possible, consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant foods to maximize your bodys’ vitamins, minerals, and micro nutrients. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. In fact, around 80% of your immune system is found in the gut so this might be one of the most important tips of all. Many plant-based foods also have antiviral and antimicrobial properties, which help us fight off infection. What not to eat is equally as important. Added sugar found in processed foods like cookies and candy may weaken the ability of white blood cells in the body to fight against bacteria and viruses. This compromises your immune systems’ ability to safeguard your health. So, put down the Chips Ahoy, grab your greens and let’s provide our bodies the fuel it needs. Attached below this article are some immune boosting foods to look into. Avoid over-consumption of alcohol and smoking
100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, 100 Bottles of Beer- Understandably we are looking for ways to ease the stress of this scary pandemic...but drinking is not the answer. For those of you in Pennsylvania, I know they are now offering online alcohol ordering, but don’t break the bank without considering the risks. Winding down with a cocktail or a glass of wine is fine, but consuming alcohol in excess can lead to the deterioration of your immune system. The research recommends women stop at one and men stop at two. So, pour yourself a glass of wine or 2, but don’t go signing up for that Zoom wine tasting event just yet. Smoking is always not advisable but especially during a pandemic that affects the lungs. Get some social distancing cardio in
Exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. It improves cells that are specific to fending off viruses. How much distance should you use? Common recommendations are 6 feet, but I prefer the smoking analogy for how much distance to use. If the person near you was smoking, would you be able to smell it? If so that might mean you are close enough to inhale their exhalations.
For those of you familiar with my JUST ADD WATER article, you know how big of a proponent I am on hydration. Good hydration is a key component to supporting your body’s immune system, which is our best defense against illness. Proper hydration plays a critical role for nearly every process in the body. Our immune system relies on our blood stream (which is about 90% water) to transport fluids, nutrients, and important communication signals to organs, so they can better do their job. So, grab a glass of water between those glasses of wine and give your body a fighting chance!
Get adequate rest
This might be very tough as it is common to get in bed and begin thinking dark thoughts. Instead, think of ten things you have to be grateful for. As you think about each one, give yourself evidence of these...for example, "I have a place to live” think of your home-whether apartment or house,. Then go onto to the next thing you have to feel grateful for. Slept debt can hinder our ability to restore our body, and our immune response. More specifically, sleep is a time when your body recovers, physically and mentally, while it produces and distributes key immune cells. Aim for 7-9 hours.
This is not just physically recovering, but mentally as well. This is a stressful time and modern medicine has come to appreciate the closely linked relationship of mind and body. Perform meditation, breathing exercises to reduce stress. When cortisol levels are constantly high, it essentially blocks the immune system from kicking into gear and doing its job to protect the body against potential threats from germs like viruses and bacteria. Whether you have been extremely active, or sedentary, mobility is extremely important, so practice some extension stretches daily. Increased inflammation can also lead to impaired immunity. Put on some relaxing music and stretch whatever muscles are feeling the most tension.
Be kind to others.
I saved the best for last. For a healthy quarantine, the last thing you can do is simply be kind to those around you and keep a positive mindset. Yes, there are scientific studies to prove this helps. It is called The Mother Theresa effect and was named after a Harvard University study where volunteers watching a video of Mother Theresa carrying out acts of kindness and compassion experienced an immune boost. Similar results have been shown with positivity and optimism. List ten easy things you can do to help someone while quarantining. Check in on someone who is alone. Write and mail a letter or a card telling someone you are thinking of them. Offer to help an older person with mail or trash. Make a list of your own. Bringing it home Life is always finding new ways to challenge us. All we can do is try our best to be the most prepared we can be when those challenges arrive. Those challenges can be mental, physical, emotional or otherwise, but prioritizing our health will put us in the best position to be resilient of whatever life throws at us, and the recommendations listed above is a great place to start! Michael Katz
Owner & Operator
MAD Fitness Director of Wellness Carefree Livin
Foods to boost your immune system Vitamin B6 - Chicken, cereals, bananas, pork loin, potatoes with skin Vitamin C- Tomatoes, citrus fruit, sweet peppers, broccoli, kiwi fruit Vitamin E- Sunflower seeds and oil, almonds, safflower oil, peanut butter Magnesium- Whole wheat, legumes, nuts, seeds Zinc- Oysters, beef shank, Alaskan king crab, turkey (dark meat) Foods that are high in antioxidants include:
· Artichokes, Beans, Beets, Blackberries, Blueberries, Dark chocolate, Pecans, Plums, Strawberries, Red cabbage, Spinach