Build Up to 75-150 Minutes per Week of Exercise at Home to Strengthen Your Immune System
With Covid-19 affecting us all in our daily lives it can feel like everything is out of our control. The virus is affecting the health of people of all ages and conditions, and a vaccine is still out on the horizon. It can make us feel helpless, like all we can do is practice social distancing, hope the virus won’t hit our home and hope again that if we do get the virus that our immune system is strong enough to get through the illness.
One of the biggest questions now is… can I do anything to help my immune system while I’m at home?
A strong, healthy immune system is the best defense for fighting off germs of all kinds – viral, bacterial, fungal.
And the good news is that we can all take steps to improve our immune systems. The Harvard Medical School provides some great guidelines in “How to Boost Your Immune System”
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Don’t smoke.
- Minimize stress.
- Avoid infection.
Staying at home can be tough. However, now more than ever it’s important to stay active. There’s a well documented, research-supported link between immune system strength and exercise. In other words, the science shows that by staying active and physically fit, you help your immune system stay fit and healthy as well!
Our friends at Webexercises published a very informative post showing the research behind exercise and immune system responses.
The bottom line is this: adding any level of moderate exercise to your daily schedule can help to get your immune system functioning at its best. It’s also a great way to work on a healthy weight, manage stress and be conscious about adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. And ideally, we want to get ourselves to consistently exercising 150-300 minutes per week. That’s about 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. For a daily step count, it works out to 3,500 to 4,000 steps/day walking at a pace of 3.5-4 miles per hour.
Exercise can strengthen immune system response by improving killer cell response, increasing T-cells production and enhancing the body’s response to almost any immune system challenge it faces.
Read on to learn about the easy, effective tips and tools we have to help you add exercise to your daily routine and experience the benefits this will bring to your immune system.
5 Tips to Add Exercise at Home and Strengthen Your Immune System
These five tips will help you add the right amount of immune-boosting exercise to your day.
1. Know your starting point. Assess where you are today with exercise and how you can improve.
How many minutes per day or steps per day are you exercising now? How much did you do over the past week? Are you over or under the 30 minutes/day and/or 4,000 steps/day?
Take the GoLife3x “Immune System Quiz” to get your free score with tips on how exercise, nutrition and sleep can improve your immune system.
2. Track your exercise (plus sleep, heart rate, breathing and recovery) to help identify where you can improve. The WHOOP band is an affordable way to get started. It tracks your daily strain and calorie burn, heart rate, sleep, respiration rate and how well your body recovers each day.
Other tools that can help to stay on track: Cardiio ( iPhone app to check your heart rate), RMR calculator (to help you estimate how many calories your body burns at rest), BMI calculator (to help you manage a healthy weight), Apple Health or Samsung Health (to track your steps) and the Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker.
3. Make steady progress and don’t try to overdo it. Start from where you are today and work on steady gradual 10% improvements every week. The recommended goal is 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75-150 minutes at higher intensity according to Harvard Medical School in “Exercise by the Numbers”. The easiest way to work on this is by adding more walking and steps to your daily routine.
Don’t forget that every bit of activity and exercise helps. In fact, if you’ve been sedentary the American Heart Association research indicates you can improve your health outcome the most by adding even a portion of the recommended 150 minutes per week.
In a JAMA Internal Medicine study, researchers pooled data from six studies and found that over a 14-year period, people who never exercised were at the highest risk of death. But it didn’t take much activity to start seeing the benefits. Those who did just a little exercise lowered their risk of death by 20 percent. (Source: Heart.org)
4. Mix up activities like walking and yoga and with higher intensity activities like jumping jacks and stair-climbing. Add some strength training like squats, chair squats and weightlifting.
Try the free GoLife3x “7 Minute Workout Calculator” to get a 7 minute workout that is customized for you.
5. Track your heart rate while you exercise to measure your moderate intensity and higher intensity exercise. Both have benefits for immune system and overall health. The easiest way to track your heart rate while you exercise is with a wearable like WHOOP or an app on your phone like Cardiio.
According to the American Heart Association, for moderate-intensity walking or activity keep your heart rate between 50%-70% of the maximum heart rate for your age, and for more vigorous bursts of exercise shoot for 70-85%.
“It is ideal to begin at 50% and increase as your fitness level allows,” says Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, a sports medicine physician with Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Also, be mindful that some medications can affect your target heart rate zone. “And if you have any history of cardiovascular problems, make sure you discuss your target heart rate with your physician,” she says. Source: Heart.org “Target Heart Rates”
|Age||Target HR Zone 50-85% |
(beats per minute)
|Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%|
|20||100-170 bpm||200 bpm|
|30||95-162 bpm||190 bpm|
|35||93-157 bpm||185 bpm|
|40||90-153 bpm||180 bpm|
|45||88-149 bpm||175 bpm|
|50||85-145 bpm||170 bpm|
|55||83-140 bpm||165 bpm|
|60||80-136 bpm||160 bpm|
|65||78-132 bpm||155 bpm|
|70+||75-128 bpm||150 bpm|
Source: Heart.org “Target Heart Rates”
Start With the GoLife3x Team Today
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We also have top health and fitness professionals who are tech-savvy to assist you with exercise, nutrition and sleep plans that are tailored to your specific health and fitness needs and goals.