Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Building Immunity............Healthy Lifestyle Choices

     Herbert Spencer coined the phrase ‘Survival of the Fittest’ describing Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection. If we are not ‘Fit’, then we are susceptible to infections, autoimmune disorders or even chronic disorders, all of which impact our longevity and health – plain and simple. Transforming our ‘Fitness’ is critical to build immunity. The first half of being ‘fit’ comes from making the right lifestyle choices.

Lifestyle modifications that really work for year-round immune health:
  • Get enough sleep – lack of sleep causes stress which in turn leads to lowered resistance.
  • Reduce unnecessary exposure to pollution (wear a surgical mask or simply use a cloth while driving), chemicals (including household cleaning agents) - use gloves while cleaning. Explore natural, non-toxic D-I-Y options.
  • Exercise regularly – 30 minutes to one hour, 4 to 5 times a week. Intensive training for more than 2 hours a day, however, makes you more vulnerable to infection.
  • Get enough sun – at least 20 minutes sun exposure per day till your skin acquires a pinkish hue is required for our body to produce Vitamin D.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol consumption and kick the smoking habit.
  • Lose weight if you need to – maintain your ideal body weight and lead an active lifestyle.
  • Meditate, practice Pranayama, pursue a hobby or passion - in other words, lower stress to boost your immunity.
               Having said all this, you will suffer from infections whether you have a strong immune system or not, although much less frequently. The advantage is the recovery time. Watch your body bounce back to normal in a remarkably short time with lesser discomfort and intensity of symptoms. 

This article was published in 'Life in Adyar', October 6, 2012.

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