Before reading on, take a breath and inhale for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8.
Do this 4 times.
I'll do it with you.
That was the 4-7-9 breathing technique advocated by Dr. Weil, M.D., practitioner and teacher of integrative health. More on that later!
Amid the craziness going on in the world right now, I wanted to give you some insight into ways you can potentially give your immune system a hand and increase your viral defense mechanisms.
At this point you understand and have been informed by the CDC that the virus has a great impact on those of age and those with underlying health issues. There are however, things you can put into practice that do no harm and increase your chances of staying healthy. While you know you ought to implement healthy lifestyle choices, there’s never been a better time to do so.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
* Don't smoke.
* Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
* Exercise regularly. [At-home workouts are great too!]
* Maintain a healthy weight.
* If you drink alcohol, drink only In moderation.
* Get adequate sleep.
* Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
* Try to minimize stress.”
For the sake of keeping this article short, I will be touching on the correlation between stress and exercise, fasting and immunity, and briefly covering how breath work plays a role in health.
Stress management is very important and whether you're one of my clients and/or friends, you know how big I am on keeping my stress levels low. As stated in a different article by Harvard, “Because the root cause of stress is emotional, it is best controlled by gaining insight, reducing life problems that trigger stress, and modifying behavior. But stress control can — and should — also involve the body. Aerobic exercise is one approach; physical fitness will help promote mental fitness. But there is another approach: you can learn to use your mind to relax your body. The relaxed body will, in turn, send signals of calm and control that help reduce mental tension.” I work with some of Wall Street's top ranking executives along with several other professions who's environment is nothing short of stressful. I've seen firsthand, the detrimental physical and mental affects it can have. What I'm saying is - Prioritize stress management. Not just right now, but going forward.
Your body will thank you.
What About Fasting?
Perhaps you've heard or read online how powerful fasting and general caloric restriction is in relation to boosting your immune system. Turns out, there is scientific research to back this up. It's important to note that not all fasting is created equal. Consult with a health care professional such as a health coach, nutritionist, dietician and/or doctor about your specific caloric needs and before undergoing any major diet change. It is crucial to have a network of trustworthy health professionals who have your best interest In mind. In general, I wouldn't recommend undergoing more than a 24hr fast, especially if you haven't done it before.
Start with a caloric restriction. Studies show that when you undergo caloric restriction, your body's ability to fight off infection increases. A simple way to calculate how many calories you should eat to be in a deficit is to multiply your goal weight by 12. For example, If your goal is to weigh 150 pounds, multiply 150 by 12. In that case, you should aim to eat, 1,800 calories. Another great byproduct of being in a deficit? - you guessed it- fat loss. Sounds like a win-win to me. I won't bore you with all the science about T cells, their benefit, cell regeneration and blah blah blah but if you want to read up on this, here are some links to reputable articles I came across while doing my own research:
As mentioned in many of the above articles, more research needs to be conducted to safely implement these dietary strategies across wide population groups.
Here's a great video on how you can calculate exactly how many calories you need to eat to be in a deficit: Weight Loss Calculator
I also want you to practice this breathing technique that truly helps with stress management, anxiety, and overall relaxation. Will this work after just one day? No. As mentioned in the video by Dr. Andrew Weil, regularity of this practice is most important. You should only do 4 breath cycles twice a day for the first month. Once when you wake up, and the other when you’re ready for bed. It'll do miracles, especially during times like this.
Believe it or not, breathing is connected to every system in your body. By regulating our breath and actively practicing breath work daily, we can better deal with whatever the world throws at us. Breathing is directly linked to stress and It's been shown that those who can better handle stress, live longer.
There isn't a consensus in the science community on why some populations live longer than others, but there is a commonality among centenarians- they don't have prolonged periods of stress.
I am not here to sell you on a magic pill that promises to prevent you from becoming ill. There is one thing I can promise you though. If you're consistent and implement some of these tips, you will live a higher quality life.
No doubt about It.
Found this helpful? Share it with a friend! We can all use some tips on how to stay healthy.
Have questions about exercise or nutrition? Email me at Kennygtrainer@gmail.com. Just let me know you read this article and I'll get back to you within 24 hours.
You can also reach me via instagram where I post everything health related. You'll also see me doing some cool work with my clients! Follow me here.