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4 Ways Boosting Your Immunity Extends Your Life

4 Ways Boosting Your Immunity Extends Your Life

Ever wonder why you always get the sniffles at least once every winter, but your one friend doesn’t even sneeze? Is it really only your genes that decide how great your immunity is? Well, think again! Scientists have found there are natural things you can do to boost your immunity.

Strengthening your immune system doesn’t just mean you can ward off the flu better, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that boosting your immunity lengthens your life too! They found that your immune system protects your body from all kinds of stressors, which can cause your cells to age. Researchers noted that older people with strong immune systems live longer, and not just because they can fight off infections better. It turns out that your immune system helps neutralize harmful free radicals in your body, which have been shown to cause aging and chronic diseases.

Here are four ways you can boost your immunity naturally:

1. Drink Aloe Vera Juice

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you might not be getting your daily vitamin B12 from your diet. Major sources of B12 include meat, fish, and cheese. Vegetables and nuts aren’t on the list. In fact, spinach has no B12 at all!

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Why is this important? Researchers found that vitamin B12 is a critical player in maintaining a healthy immune system. Patients given B12 experienced a boost in the number of their immune cells. Their NK cell activity was significantly increased too. Why is that so good? Among other vital functions, NK cells are your immune system’s major cancer-killing cells.

Aloe vera is one of the few produces that has a significant amount of B12. It also has vitamins A, E, and C, which all support your immune system. These vitamins also act as antioxidants that help prevent free radicals from causing premature aging and damaging your body.

Does it work? According to SFGate, aloe vera supports your immune system directly by helping cleanse your body of toxins and bad microbes. They say it also regulates your immune system by helping prevent and alleviate hyperactive allergic reactions and autoimmune conditions, like arthritis.

How can you get your aloe vera? You can drink aloe vera juice or cut pieces of the raw plant’s inner stalk and mix it with your salad. Drinking aloe vera juice also helps keep your skin looking young, and when it passes your lips, can alleviate any soreness if your lips are sunburned or inflamed. Be careful not to eat or drink too much aloe vera because it has a strong laxative effect.

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2. Exercise Regularly

Exercising everyday isn’t just good for your waistline and heart, it boosts your immunity too! Medline Plus says that moving your body may help alleviate and prevent colds by flushing out pathogens from your airways. Exercising boosts your circulation, which may also boost your immune cells’ activity since they’re moving around faster and can catch possible pathogens faster too.

But don’t exercise too much! Researchers found that moderate exercise (like walking a mile everyday or one minute of high intensity interval training) protects and supports your immune system. But they warn that repeated strenuous exercise weakens your immune system. So don’t overdo it or you’ll end up hurting your immunity, instead of strengthening it.

3. Stop Smoking or Taking Nicotine

You know smoking can cause cancer. In fact, it causes between 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths – that means only 10 percent of people who die of lung cancer aren’t smokers.

But cancer isn’t the only way smoking can shorten your life. Researchers found that nicotine suppresses your immune system by interfering with the communication between your immune cells. It also lowers your T-cell count, which weakens your overall immunity. It also weakens your macrophage response, which is your first line of defense against tuberculosis. In fact, there are increased tuberculosis infections among people routinely exposed to nicotine. As if these weren’t enough, nicotine also slows your body’s ability to heal wounds.

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Stop smoking or using nicotine products and you’ll stop weakening your immunity and live longer. Nicotine is very addictive, and it’s understandable that you can’t suddenly go cold turkey. In fact, the Mayo Clinic states that only 5 percent of smokers trying to quit succeed when they don’t get help. But you can boost your success by getting drug addiction help with qualified professionals.

Some smokers need the tactile sensations of inhaling and holding a cigarette. If this is your challenge, you can try electronic cigarettes. E-cigs are shaped like cigarettes and deliver vapor to your lungs when you puff on them. But unlike regular cigarettes, e-cigs only deliver pure nicotine without the thousands of carcinogens. The NIH found that e-cigs are a safe method smokers can use to quit smoking. The FDA is also making sure they’re safe to use by increasing e-cig regulations and even creating an online e-cig reporting tool to stop malfunctioning or low quality products in their tracks. But remember that nicotine still suppresses your immune system – even if e-cigs are a great step down from regular cigarettes, they’re still shortening your life. You should only use them as a temporary crutch to help you quit permanently.

4. Do Intermittent Fasting

Have you ever skipped meals? There’s a whole methodology behind it called intermittent fasting. You don’t have to skip a specific meal, you can also intermittently fast by eating during specific intervals, like choosing to eat only every eight hours. In fact, Marilyn Monroe practiced intermittent fasting too by routinely skipping lunch.

But is it good for you? Yes, researchers found intermittently starving yourself lowers your blood pressure and overall inflammation, which are both risk factors for cancer and cardiovascular disease. It also lowers the levels of harmful free radicals in your system, which means it helps extend your life!

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It also boosts your immunity by fine-tuning your immune cells. Researchers found that when your body is in survival mode when you’re fasting, it starts recycling damaged and dead immune cells to use as energy and building blocks. Then the next time you eat, your body quickly makes new, super efficient immune cells. The result is a rebooted, supercharged immune system. If you practice intermittent fasting routinely, you sharpen your immune system because most of your immune cells will always be at their best to protect you from toxins and harmful microbes.

Your immune system isn’t just as strong as your genes dictate. You can ramp up your immunity by making healthy, cost-free lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking and exercising everyday. Boosting your immunity not only means you’ll get sick less, but it can add years to your life too!

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Last Updated on March 2, 2021

Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss

Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss

As you get started on a fitness journey, you’ve probably looked up the importance of a good exercise regimen, a healthy diet, and a more active lifestyle. What you probably haven’t heard much about is the importance of keeping a fitness journal to keep yourself on track.

Here is how to get started with a fitness journal and the benefits it will bring.

How to Start a Fitness Journal

Starting a fitness journal is simple and easy. You either buy a pre-organized fitness motivation journal or a blank notebook if you are interested in designing your own layout.

As you get started with your fitness journal, try to include the following.

Fitness Goals

Before you even begin to track your workouts, it’s important to clarify what your fitness goals[1] are and the deadline you plan to reach them by. Your goals can include changes in your diet, your exercise routine, or your weight.

Workout Statistics

Each time you do a daily workout, write down the date, day of the week, start/end times, the exercises you completed, and the reps of each. This can be altered depending on your specific workout. For example, if you’re a runner, you can write down your average speed while running, your peak heart rate, and your total distance traveled.

Body Metrics

In order to track your progress, you’ll need to know specific body measurements. You can include your weight, BMI, length measurements, and calories consumed each day. Then, go back and measure these at least once a month to see how close you are to achieving your fitness goals.

Diet and Sleep Info

Your eating and sleeping habits are just as important as your workouts when it comes to fitness. As an added element in your fitness planner, you can keep track of what you eat, your water intake, how long you sleep, and your sleep quality. This can help you identify patterns that can help you work out more effectively.

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Benefits of Keeping a Fitness Journal

1. The Key to Celebration

“Progress equals happiness.” -Tony Robbins

One of the most encouraging acts you can do in your life is to track your progress. If you’ve set goals, it’s absolutely crucial for you to know if you’re moving any closer.

As Tony Robbins, a top-notch motivational speaker and author, said: Progress is happiness. It’s one thing to crave progress and another thing to start measuring it. That’s when the workout journal comes in handy.

When you’re able to see just how far you’ve come by looking back in your fitness journal, you’ll feel more motivated to keep moving forward.

2. Better Guidance

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Imagine if a coach could analyze your whole progress, your weaknesses, and your strengths in less than 5 minutes.

If you have paid to be coached by a professional in the fitness industry, why not make his/her life and your progress easier? If your trainer knows where you’ve been struggling, and where you’ve been excelling, s/he will know how to guide you toward better results.

3. Reduce Reliance on Willpower

The last thing we all want is to put more stress on our plates. Why should we consciously note down our progress and add an extra task?

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A workout book can actually lessen the willpower that we need to get to the gym. The fitness journal takes the decision weight off our shoulders that is needed to start the task.

When you plan your workouts in advance through your journal, your mind will already have the habit embedded in your routine.

You can also check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination. This can help you learn to stop procrastinating and get to the gym when it’s time.

4. Helps You Face the Truth

A fitness journal will help you analyze what you’ve really been doing to achieve your fitness goals.

Some people think they simply have “bad genetics,” yet when they look at what they’ve really been doing through the fitness journal, they may see that their eating and exercise habits haven’t gone in the right direction. This can help eliminate excuses and get you moving on a better path.

5. Creates Accountability

By looking at our past achievements, we can set the goal to achieve more. A fitness journal can foster our ambition by keeping us accountable for what we did yesterday and what we plan to do tomorrow.

6. Recognize Patterns

Have you ever wondered why you feel a lack of motivation one day and then feel like exercising for two hours on another? A fitness journal can help you see patterns in your behaviors. In the end, what gets measured gets managed.

7. Experience Joy of Task Completion

You know that feeling when you cross off something on your to-do list? It’s possible to replicate that same feeling after going to the gym with your fitness journal.

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If we write down the results of our training, we get a dopamine rush. It makes us feel that we’re in control of our destiny.

8. Prevent Excuses

If you’ve noticed that you haven’t made any progress recently, look at your fitness journal. It’s most likely not your genetics.

If we write our progress down, we can see what works and what doesn’t, which can help prevent excuses.

9. Minimize Injuries

Do you feel a sting after doing shoulder exercises? Make a note in your fitness journal.

Before starting the next workout, go through the old workout and act accordingly. Often, injuries accumulate after multiple workout sessions. We can minimize the occurrence of injuries by writing it down in our journal and noting what isn’t working for our bodies.

10. Look and Feel Like a Pro

If you have a fitness journal to track your progress, you’ll feel more dedicated to your workouts overall. Looking and acting like a professional becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

11. Determine the Value of Your Time

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. -Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law also applies to your fitness results. If you don’t give your workout a maximum duration, you may not end up using your workout time wisely.

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Pre-determine the sets, reps, and exercises that you want to do beforehand to make the most of your time.

12. Focus on You

While I’m a huge believer in motivation through a competitive spirit and external factors, in the end, this journey is about becoming a better you—a healthier, faster, stronger and better person altogether.

The fitness journal can help you keep your focus on where it should be—on you. In the end, all the notes that you take are focused on your progress and your decisions.

Final Thoughts

The reason most people don’t have a fitness journal is that they assume it’s not worth it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are plenty of reasons to follow a fitness journal. From creating motivation, to helping you stay on track, to being a facilitator for personal growth, having a fitness journal is an absolute necessity if you’re serious about reaching your fitness goals.

In the end, having a fitness journal for goal setting can really make all the difference for your physical and mental health.

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Featured photo credit: dylan nolte via unsplash.com

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