With Covid-19, or the Coronavirus, sweeping the globe, life as we know it has no doubt changed dramatically in recent weeks. The devastating impact of this virus has touched the lives of everyone.
Whether you’ve been affected directly or indirectly by Covid-19, safeguarding health and wellbeing has never been so important. Our immune systems in particular need a helping hand in light of recent events.
How immune systems respond to Covid-19 has been the subject of many studies – including this research from the University of Melbourne – as scientists look to discover the secret to successful recovery and ultimately create an effective vaccine.
Improving your own immune health while in lockdown could provide the boost you need to fight this virus, and all you need to do is dedicate 30 minutes of your day to the cause. Below we reveal how to improve your immunity in just 30 minutes.
10 minutes of the great outdoors
Whilst leaving our homes is a no-no during the Prime Minister’s recently imposed lockdown, you are allowed to go outside to do one form of exercise.
Taking exercise outdoors will work wonders for your immune system. Dedicate 10 minutes a day to completing a quick cardiovascular workout. This could be a brisk walk, jog or simply a speedy skipping session in the garden.
Even just 10 minutes of exercise a day is great for the immune system. Here Paul Klenerman, Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Research Fellow and Professor of Immunology at the University of Oxford, explains why:
“Yes, exercise is good for your immune system. It is obviously good for you generally, together with a healthy diet – the type recommended for protecting your heart and maintaining a good weight.
Exercise stimulates a process in cells called autophagy, which encourages all the body’s cells to tidy themselves up and get rid of any unwanted waste. This makes them much more efficient and is linked to better immune function. There are probably many other beneficial effects too.”
Completing your workout outdoors will boost immune health further thanks to the link between immunity and sunlight. Your body needs sunlight to make vitamin D, which is integral to the maintenance of healthy bones and the control of autoimmune conditions. It also helps the body to produce natural antimicrobial substances, such as cathelicidin, which have been proven to control the tuberculosis bacteria.
When completing your outdoors workout be sure to limit your exposure to sunlight. A maximum of 15 minutes is enough to reap the rewards of a low dose of sunlight without the dangers that come with excess exposure, such as skin cancer and immune system suppression.
10 minutes of mindfulness
Looking after your mind is just as important, particularly when life is thrown upside down and we can’t enjoy our usual daily routines. Practising meditation or mindfulness exercise can even help you deal with the fear and uncertainty of the wider Covid-19 outbreak.
Without daily mindfulness exercises, fear among other things can become overwhelming. Meditation will calm the speed and content of mental chatter so we can all find the inner peace to stay grounded even during these tough times.
Practising mindfulness is easy. Just 10 minutes of meditation per day can help you find the balance you need to take better care of yourself and others.
Lie down in a comfortable position and begin to inhale as you move your attention through your body. Starting from your toes, move up the legs and travel all the way to the top of the head.
Exhale as you move your attention downwards from the top of your head all the way down to the tips of your toes. Repeat this process for 10 minutes and feel increased body awareness, wellbeing and relaxation all at the same time.
10 minutes of yoga
The link between sunlight and immune health can be explored further during the final segment of your 30-minute, immunity boosting workout. Ancient yoga practices use sunlight to warm, strengthen and align the entire body.
The sun salutation or Surya Namaskar is one such sunlight-loving yoga pose that can boost immunity, mood and energy levels, and it should form part of your 10 minutes of daily yoga as a result.
Do the simple yoga sun salutation for 5 minutes in the morning, preferably with the rising sun. This sequence helps wake the body and prepare it for the day by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system.
Finish the day with the moon salutation (again all you need is 5 minutes) to stretch and relax the body while stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system which allows the body to rest and heal.
Find more immunity boosting tips to help you beat coronavirus right here.