With cold and flu season firmly upon us and the drop in temperatures making it easier for viruses to spread, it’s time to think about what we can do to boost our immune systems. Top of the list would be good sleep habits, a nutritious diet, regular exercise and a couple of key high-quality supplements. Here is my go-to winter survival guide!
It is well known that exercise is good for us and there are endless health benefits to being active but did you know that exercise can also help to boost immunity? So how exactly does exercise benefit your immune system?
Exercise helps increase the number of white blood cells that deal with infections and to circulate these cells more rapidly. Exercise helps to flush the bacteria out of lungs & airways – this may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu or other illness by 40-50%. In addition the rise in body temperature during and after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing.
Persistent inflammation is linked to multiple illnesses and exercise helps to reduce inflammation (although this is most profound when also linked to weight loss).
Exercise helps to mitigate the age-related decline in your immune system.
Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones – it’s been shown that stress increases the chance of illness and lowers immunity.
So, what is the best exercise for immunity? Well, the answer is a mixture. Incorporating walking, running, cycling or swimming for cardiovascular benefits combined with some higher intensity workouts such as strength, weight training and HIIT to give you the biggest immunity boost. (And always remember that overtraining impairs immunity so get that balance just right!) Going outside for a walk in the sun for just 30 minutes can really boost our VItamin D levels too – Vit D can help decrease the risk of getting a virus, improving our immune cell production.
Sleep provides essential support to the immune system & must be seen as a priority – without adequate, quality sleep our bodies suffer especially our immune system. Getting enough hours of high-quality uninterrupted sleep gives us strong innate (our immediate response to infection) and adaptive (long-term adaptive response) immunity. Research has found that during our nightly sleep some components of our immune system wake up and do their work. In the same way that sleep helps to consolidate learning and memory, it does the same for immunity – sleep reinforces the immune system’s ability to remember how to recognise and react to pathogens (infections, viruses etc.).
Improving sleep often starts by focusing on our habits, routines, sleeping environment, and even whether we have the best mattress. Collectively, this is known as sleep hygiene, and even straightforward steps, such as having a consistent sleep schedule and avoiding using your phone before and in bed, can make it easier to get a good night’s sleep.
If you are looking for ways to enhance your sleep and help you boost your sleep quality, I always recommend Lizzie Loves’ amazing be Sleepy sachets as well as Be Well for immunity – you can grab yours here. Use the code caroline20.
A well balanced, healthy diet is key to success here. You must fuel your body correctly to fight off the infections as well as giving it all the right tools to recover after your workouts! In the winter months especially, we need to make sure we are getting adequate fruit and vegetables to get our vitamins and minerals. If you are stuck for ideas Lizzie Loves has some amazing recipes – take a look here. Given the shorter days and lacking sunlight in the UK in the winter it is recommended to supplement your diet with Vitamin D through the winter months.
Those of you who know me will know that I am a huge advocate of turmeric shots from The Turmeric Co. Do you know about the amazing benefits of taking turmeric? It boosts energy, flights infection, supports your immune system and is a powerful antioxidant not to mention it is rich in vitamins. I take two daily shots of Turmeric Vitamin C/D from The Turmeric Co. Use my code caroline10 to shop their range – the turmeric and ginger ones are my favourite!
If you are looking for ways to enhance your sleep and help you boost your sleep quality, I always recommend Lizzie Loves’ amazing be Sleepy sachets. In addition there are the Be Well Elderberry sachets for immunity, fantastic for children too – you can grab yours here. Use the code caroline20.
Now a bit about Caroline’s Circuits – I have long since been an advocate of strength training, particularly for women, and with this in mind I built my platform – Caroline’s Circuits. My workouts are 4 times a week for just 30 minutes. They focus on strength-based circuits which work different muscle groups and challenge the body, keeping the heart rate moderate to high with passive or active rest – they give the perfect mix of strength and cardio for the best results.
The workouts are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (they are all recorded and available to you on demand within an hour of the session if you can’t make the live) and are available worldwide. Classes have been specifically designed to suit all fitness levels and create fitness habits which last & which produce results.
If you have any questions please do get in touch.
For more workout ideas and to find out more about me check out my Instagram or the website,