We are all searching for more things that we can do to help strengthen our immune systems. What you might not know is that there is something you can do right now that will cost you nothing but time! One of the most beneficial things we can do for our overall health, aside from the importance of nutrition, sleep, and hydration, is exercise. Now, I know there are a lot of you out there that just read that and are now not looking forward to reading the rest of this article. For the record exercise can be fun, no one is saying you need to run a mile or anything like that. Get ready to find out just how beneficial exercise can be for your overall health and some fun options that will have you ready to build up a sweat. And of course there is another tasty recipe to help keep you healthy.
Crank Up The Heat
Have you ever noticed that, while it may be difficult to find the motivation to do it, you feel so much better after a workout? That is because exercise is a great way to increase the production of the hormone called Endorphins. Endorphins can help reduce pain levels naturally. This same hormone can help activate a positive feeling throughout the body similar to that of morphine. It also releases Norepinephrine which is a mood stimulating hormone and a great way to reduce your stress levels naturally. Exercise also helps to lower Cortisol levels which is the stress hormone. As we all know excess stress can destroy our immune system. While our bodies use small doses of stress to kick start our immunity too much stress forces our bodies to work overtime and increases the risk for illness and injury.
Some of the other hormones that are activated during exercise are: Insulin, Glucagon, Testosterone, and Human Growth Hormone. Insulin is essential for our bodies ability to metabolize fats and carbohydrates. When blood sugar is elevated Insulin is released to promote the storage and absorption of glycogen and glucose. Glucagon is produced to stimulate the release of free fatty acids from fat tissue and increase blood sugar levels. As glycogen levels are depleted during exercise, Glucagon releases additional glycogen that is stored in the liver. Testosterone is responsible for muscle protein re-synthesis and repair of muscle proteins damaged by exercise while also helping to support the skeletal muscle development. Too much Testosterone can result in a weakened immune system and as such you may want to reduce your cardio workouts. Human Growth Hormone is an anabolic peptide that stimulates cellular growth. The body produces high levels of it during REM cycles of sleep and exercise.
Get Things Moving
There are additional reasons why exercise is something we all need to incorporate into our daily routines. One of the most overlooked reasons has to be its ability to promote circulation of more than just blood. While it goes without saying that blood circulation is extremely important for our overall health and well being. Blood cells carry in the nutrients our bodies desperately need while also acting as a transport system to remove any excess toxins or waste building up. It also determines just how quickly our bodies’ first responders can get to the areas they are needed most. But another critical circulation that exercise aids in is digestion. Remember that our digestive tract makes up over 80% of our immune system and its regularity is essential to our immunity. Exercise is a great way to help our bodies process the nutrients we need and remove any built up toxins.
Rest Easy My Friends
Not only does exercise help to naturally reduce your stress levels it can also improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. That’s right, if you were looking for a multitasker you are in luck. Exercise helps our bodies burn off any built up stress that tends to be one of the number one contributing factors to poor sleep. The increase in circulation also helps to reduce inflammation and remove any built up lactic acid which can lead to sore muscles. With the added fact that exercise helps increase the production of Endorphins we are able to fall asleep more quickly and sleep deeper throughout the night. Timing, however, is critical to our ability to do this. Remember that your brain remains as active as it was right before bed. This means an hour prior to bed you may want to do a low level activity such as yoga or stretching. In the morning start your day off right with something high in intensity.
Pick Your Poison
There are so many different exercises out there to choose from. Use that to your advantage! Again, in the morning I would suggest picking something that is going to help wake you up and get you going. A great option would be a high intensity interval training (HIIT) or burst workout. One of my favorite things about these workouts is the fact that you don’t have to spend hours doing them. The goal is to perform short one minute bursts of effort into each movement. I like to include jumping jacks into my morning routine because the act of jumping up and down actually helps to drain your lymph nodes and improve your immunity. Not to mention it acts as a full body workout and form of strength training. Another great option is pilates while it helps to keep your body limber, it is also using your body’s own weight to help strengthen itself!
Jump On In
With summer here and temperatures high this is the perfect time to start a water workout routine. I am a Cali girl so water has always been part of my life. Swimming can be one of the best workouts you can get. Even something as jogging in water will burn more calories than jogging outside of it. Due to the water’s resistance you are getting a more intense workout without even noticing it. Again, exercise should be fun so just play in the water for an hour a day. There is a reason your kids can out last you. They are constantly moving and an object in motion will stay in motion! Get out there and get moving. Have a dance party, or a night out, do something fun and exciting that is sure to get your blood pumping.
Make Your Own Workout
It doesn’t have to be much just 30 minutes a day 3-4 days a week. Honestly, you get to design what you want that to look like. If for you a great way to get active is by playing a virtual reality game that makes you move then you do you! Are you looking to have a workout routine that is designed with more than just immunity in mind? I know right now we may not all be enjoying our new quarantine bodies (couch potato plus door dash equals body smash). With that in mind, if you are looking to speed up your timeframe to a fit you I would suggest HIIT workouts 3-4 days a week. Can’t wait? Go for the 5 days a week, but make sure you are giving your body down days.
Create A Habit
Have you ever noticed that the first two weeks of a new routine are often the hardest? That’s because it takes our brains 21 days to form a habit. Once this habit is in place we are more likely to continue it with ease. If you are looking to establish healthy habits that can improve your health and take back control of your body you will want to stick to a few things. Some great habits to start today are: gratitude journal, meditation, good nutrition, hydration, and daily exercise. This way you are focusing on more than just your body. We all need more than just physical health. Our minds are the key that unlocks the door to good health. Make sure you are feeding yours at all times with things that will help you along the way. Meditation and gratitude are two great ways to do just that. You are more and you deserve more everyday!
Slow Your Roll
Remember like everything in life you want to create a balance. While exercise is great for your health excess exercise can be just as damaging as no exercise at all. That is why it is so pivotal that you listen to your body. If you notice that your energy levels have begun to drop even with the exercise it is your body’s way of saying we need a spa day. Don’t ignore your body, it has your best interest in mind at all times. It might not always be able to get its needs directly across at times and some things can get lost in translation. But your body NEEDS you to survive and be as healthy as possible. It means less work for it and just like the rest of us it is all about less work and more perks. Find out what works best for you. Remember you are one of a kind and as such your exercise might not look like everyone else’s and that’s okay. Just do what feels right for you!
Lemon Blueberry Bread
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 12
- 1 Cup Coconut Sugar
- ⅓ Cup Vegan Butter Melted
- 8 Tbsp Cashew Yogurt
- ¼ tsp Baking Soda
- 5 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 ½ Cups Almond Flour
- ½ Cup Coconut Milk
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 Tbsp Lemon Zest
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- ½ Cup Chopped Walnuts
- 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
- ¼ Cup Whole Earth Stevia Monk Fruit Sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or treat an 8×4 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl beat “butter”, coconut sugar, 3 Tbsp of juice, and yogurt. Once mixed in a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder, and soda. Slowly stir into a wet mixture. Once combined fold in lemon zest, nuts, and berries. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for an additional 10 minutes prior to removing. In the meantime combine stevia and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice in a small bowl. Remove cooled bread from the pan and pour glaze over top. Tip I line my pan with parchment paper to save on calories and trouble during removal.
Need a Helping Hand?
A happy and healthy life is closer than you may think. Our health is something that we all have to deal with daily, and when we don’t feel our best, it shows. If you are tired of just making it through your day then you NEED to start investing in your health today! You are not alone on this journey. If you ever need any help I am always here to do just that. Even if it is something as small as just acting as a sounding board. Do you have any questions or concerns I can help you with? Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] or you can even book a one-on-one call with me. Be sure to subscribe to gain access to tons of free goodies and check back daily for more great recipes and information!