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The Right Exercise To Boost Your Immune System

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The Right Exercise To Boost Your Immune System

Exercise has a powerful effect on your immune system, but it’s not true that the more exercise you do, the better you can fight off sickness. In fact, exercising too much is just as bad as not exercising at all when it comes to immunity.

The Truth About How Long Your Aerobic Workout Should Last

The World Health Organization recommends up to 300 minutes per week of aerobic workout for most adults. That works out to almost 45 minutes every single day.

To put it simply, that’s terrible advice.

Effects Of Long Duration Aerobics

You see, long periods of steady aerobic training actually create a smaller, weaker heart and less powerful lungs. And it can set you up for just about every disease in the book.

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Exercise The Right Way

Your risk of catching a cold or the flu or developing an infection goes down if you exercise the right way. But if you exercise for too long a period of time, your risk goes right back up. In fact, your risk shoots up higher than if you did nothing at all.

In one study, researchers divided mice into two groups. One group rested in their cages. The other ran on little treadmills until they were exhausted. After three days, all the mice were exposed to the flu virus. The mice that ran until they were exhausted came down with the flu more often and had worse symptoms than the couch potato mice.

In another experiment, mice were infected with the flu virus and then divided into three groups. The first group did no exercise. The second got a moderate amount of exercise each day. The third ran all out for two and a half hours a day. After a few days, 50% of the couch potatoes had died of the flu. Only 12% of the moderate exercisers died. An astounding 70% of the mice that ran for hours died of the flu!

Intense Workouts Suppress The Body’s Immune System

The problem is that intense, prolonged workouts suppress the body’s immune response for a period of time right after you finish exercising. And the longer and more intense your routine, the longer your immune system is down. And that means you’ll get sick more often.

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The reason for this is simple: your body interprets long periods of exercise as stress.

This raises the levels of norepinephrine and cortisol. These stress hormones tend to suppress the immune system. They cause the numbers of immune cells (including white blood cells) to drop during and after the workout.

Use The PACE Program To Boost Your Immune System

It’s clear that no exercise and prolonged workouts are both bad for your health. But the anti-aging PACE program has immune-boosting power. It shifts the focus of your workout from how long you work to how efficiently you exert yourself.

With PACE, your goal is to hit a peak of intensity in a short timeframe and then rest. You don’t have to do hours of cardio. You only need to work 12 minutes a day. You work long enough to boost your immune system, but not so long that you suppress it.

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Listen To Your Body

You can choose any exercise you like. It could be as simple as going up and down the stairs, jumping rope, biking, or swimming. The key is to listen to your body. You should be panting at the end of each exertion period. You should not be taxed and exhausted through the whole workout.

Try This PACE Move

Here’s a sample PACE move you can try right now. All you need is your own body and some space.

Supermans:

superman-exercise
    • Lie on the floor on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you and your legs extended behind you. Your chin should be slightly off the ground.
    • Contract your back muscles and raise your arms and legs a few inches off the floor at the same time.
    • Hold for three seconds, then lower your arms and legs back to the starting position.
    • Repeat several times, until you are slightly winded.

    Do three sets, taking time to recover completely between each set. And to make this truly a PACE workout, increase the intensity with each set, either by increasing the number of Supermans you do or by increasing the amount of time you hold the position.

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    If you want to learn some other good PACE exercises, check my YouTube channel. I have more than 30 different exercises and a complete workout to help you get started.

    To Your Good Health,
    Al Sears, MD, CNS

    References:

    1World Health Organization. “Physical Activity and Adults.” 2016.
    2Murphy EA, Davis JM, Carmichael MD, et al. “Exercise stress increases susceptibility to influenza infection.” Brain Behav Immun. 2008;22(8):1152-5.
    3Moreira A, Arsati F, Cury PR, et al. “Salivary immunoglobulin a response to a match in top-level Brazilian soccer players.” J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23(7):1968-73.

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    Featured photo credit: fitapproach via creativecommons.org

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    Last Updated on January 27, 2022

    5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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    5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

    Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

    “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

    Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

    Food is a universal necessity.

    It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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    Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

    Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

    Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

    Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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    The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

    Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

    This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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    Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

    Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

    Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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    So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

    Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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