What you can do to get your immunity as strong as possible

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The saying goes that the best time to invest is 20 years ago, and the next best time to invest is today.
The same goes for investing in your health; the most important thing you can invest time, energy and money into.

It’s become fairly obvious over the last few days and weeks that the people most affected by COVID-19 are those with a compromised immune system. We assume these are only the elderly, pregnant
women and those with pre-existing conditions. We know people with type 2 diabetes, COPD, obesity, heart conditions and smokers also don’t fare as well as some others.
People are being separated into “immuno-compromised” and “healthy”, but as someone with a very well managed pre-existing medical condition and seeing some of my elderly clients that are in better
health than some of my 30 years old clients, I have to say there are exceptions to this rule.

From personal experience, I have MS and have done for 17 years. 7 years ago my son was also diagnosed which prompted me to do my research (even the FBI doesn’t do research like a worried
mother) and I drastically changed my belief systems, diet and lifestyle.
I’ve not had a relapse in 7 years, but I was having at least one a year before then. My MRI scans are stable with no progression in 7 years and shows regression of the lesions. I used to stay away from people who were unwell as I was considered to have a compromised immune system. Thanks to those lifestyle changes, I can now treat people whether they are sick or not. I know my immune system is no longer compromised due to the investment I made into my health 7 years ago and continue to make today.
Not to understate the facts, COVID-19 is virulent and deadly to some. I totally agree we need to be careful and sensible. But I was facing this for the last 17 years as just a regular cold or even stress induced infection could tip me into a relapse which could send my immune system haywire and leave me with no control over whichever area of my body was affected. Fighting back and getting my
immune system back on track with lifestyle changes is what gives me the confidence to know I will be ok.
From a more professional point of view, I did my diploma in Lifestyle medicine last year and there are several areas where you can start today no matter what your age or the current state of your
SO, what can you do to get your immunity as strong as possible?
I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible so contact me if you need more information.

1. Whole food plant-based.
Eat a rainbow! The darker the colours on your plate the better. The Daily Dozen app is a great way to see if you’re getting enough. This will also ensure you get enough fibre so you
can eliminate toxins too.
2. Protein.
You need at least 1.6g-2g/kg of your bodyweight if you are trying to stay well or get well. Try and get most of it from plant sources like Tofu/Legumes/Nuts but get some fish (smaller ones are better) in as well. Avoid red meat or processed meat that causes more inflammation.
3. Water.
Get an incremental water bottle or keep sipping through the day to keep your mouth moist and swallow the virus should you be exposed rather than breathe it in and expose the lungs.
Every cell in your body needs water to function optimally – and if there ever was a time to be functioning optimally, now is it..
4. Supplements.
On the most basic level, you need to make sure you get enough Zinc, Vit B , Vit C and Vit D. If you want more specific advice book a nutrition or healthy living call with me. I use Nutri-
link for most of my supplements and Cytoplan for some. You’re welcome to use my discount when you order from either of those. Also make sure your gut is healthy so you can eliminate toxins and absorb all the good stuff. Symprove is my go to but S. Boulardii has also been recommended by people wiser than me. If you look at a previous post there is some
more information about supplements that boosts immunity by the Nutri-link team.

Sleep is absolutely vital to keep the immune system healthy and to protect your mental health. Here are some tips to get a better rest.
1. Get some late afternoon sun.
Go for a walk in the late afternoon.
2. Avoid alcohol.
Yes, I know at such a stressful time, alcohol can seem like a welcome solution. However, it is detrimental and costly to sleep and immunity. This is not forever, so best to wait to have a
drink once this is all over to celebrate instead!
3. Avoid high carb meals or snacks late in evening,
If you really need something before bed, bananas can be helpful and cherry juice is rich in melatonin and may help too. Personally, I like Cherry Active as a brand for cherry juice and sleep.
4. Check your lighting.
Keep lights dim and avoid blue lights and screens for a few hours before bed. You can put a filter on your phone and laptop and avoid TV.
5. Bath or shower an hour before bed.
You can treat yourself and use Epsom salts and some lavender oil to relax and detoxify.
6. Routine.
Not just having a regular, relaxing bath before bed, but having a strict routine for at least 5-10 min before getting into bed can really help.
7. Sleep earlier.
An hour before midnight is worth 2 after. Get to bed early to make the most of this.
8. Get yourself relaxed
Use a meditation or mindfulness app before bed – or even just some deep breathing exercises to calm the nervous system and get better quality sleep. I like insight timer and some Kundalini yoga chants on Spotify. I am happy to share these, just contact me.


As we are isolated it can be so easy to fall out of routine with our activity. It’s hard to motivate yourself to jump around the living room alone. So get a buddy, join a virtual class, get your PT to programme you some work to do at home with variety built in. I love my MyZone heart rate monitor that keeps me accountable in a community and has some healthy competition built in if you like that sort of thing. For the last few months, I was signed off from the gym with an injury, so have plenty of exercises all done in my lounge and in as little as 10 min. Download the WOD timer app and it will count you down to do an EMOM. (every minute on the minute).
Start with a little warm up, walking or jogging on the spot. High knees/ bum kicks / big arms 3-5 min Set your Wod timer to the required time you want to train for. Remember to stay healthy you need at least 30min of moderate intensity (so you can talk but not sing) exercise a week AND 2 session of strength exercise to help maintain bone density and to prevent muscle loss as we get older.
Then, music on and get MOVING. Exercise for up to 40 sec and rest for 20. This may change as you get tired toward the last few rounds.

Easy movements to do in your lounge.
You can choose one and do it for the whole 40 seconds and then do another until you’ve done 3 different ones and then circle back to the the first movement ie.
squat/lunge/plank and do 3/4/5 rounds of that which will take 9/12/15 min OR you can do all three in the one minute time for 40 sec work with reps suggested below and rest for the remainder of the
minute (20 sec) and do them all again for as many minutes as you like.
Sit down and stand up/ squat/jumping squats x 8-10 reps Step forward with support on windowsill / lunge/ jumping lunges 8-10 reps
Dead bugs.
Lie on your back with arms stretched to ceiling and knees above hips and bent to 90’. Keeping the back pressed into the floor stretch one arm and the opposite leg away from the body until you feel
the lower back wanting to lift – stop there and return. Breathe out as you move and in as you rest. 5- 8 reps
Alternatively – hold a plank for 15-20 seconds
Box hold.
On hands and knees keeping good form and posture. Lift just the knees 1” off the floor and hold.
Step up with alternate legs onto coffee table (if safe and stable) 5 on each side
Push ups at wall/ windowsill/coffee table or floor 8-10 reps
I could go on but my favourite thing (and the activity that gets my heart rate up the most) is to put my favourite music on loud and dance around like no one is watching (because they aren’t!) till I collapse in a sodden sweaty heap!

Nutrition, sleep and exercise are your best weapons against issues with mental health, but practicing the habits of positive psychology can go a long way to helping you stay positive:

1. Write down what you want to be remembered for
2. Connect with others daily – not just on social media where possible
3. Express thanks
4. Count your blessing and write them down often
5. Think happy thoughts about the past and have hope for the future
6. Savour the pleasant things in life like clean water, a hot bath, food, shelter, a hug, sunshine, spring blossoms
7. Find and improve your strengths
8. Be kind

Mindfulness practice.
Even if you just do the breathing exercises, they are so helpful to calm the vagus nerve and keep you connected. Breathe in for 7 seconds. Feel the air travelling from the tip of your nose all the way to the tips of your toes and fingers and the top of your head. Imagine inflating like a giant balloon and then slowly breathe out for 11 seconds. Do as many as you need to regain calm and balance.

Stay connected.
Facetime a friend, cuddle your dog/cat. Have long chats around the dinner table. Let people know how you are feeling and why – just talking about it will lift the burden immensely. I found myself
distinctly Eeyore’ish’ this morning and after a chat with my sisters online and my partner in person, I had identified why I felt the way I did and could change my state to a more positive and proactive mindset about all the chaos around us.

In summary, if you haven’t invested in your health before – START TODAY!

Eat better
Move better
Sleep better
Think better
Be better!

Maybe we can come out of this healthier than we went in.

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