During periods of stress and uncertainty, supporting a healthy immune system is one of the best things you can do for your body. An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine with details of the virus indicate that those have worse symptoms are twice as likely to have preexisting lung or heart problems and three times as likely to be diabetic. We also know that obesity in general makes us vulnerable to viruses.

An in-depth animal and human study published in Immunology in May 2019, demonstrates that the systemic inflammatory condition created by deep belly fat results in a “blunted and delayed” immune response to virus attacks. Recovery is also significantly longer and those with breathing challenges, such as sleep apnea, as a result of the weight on their chest are more at risk. These are the facts. The good news is that small steps can lead to big improvements in our health. Consider these:

1. Revamp your nutrition. It’s tough when you’re stuck at home. Pretty much all of our appetites are affected by oscillating emotions, hence the trending “Quarantine 15” (weight gain fears during lockdown). Eating clean, minimizing sugar intake, maintaining your active lifestyle and practicing stress management is key to supporting a healthy, strong body. We all now recognize that taking our health as the priority has never been so important.

2. Focus on Sleep. Sleep quantity and quality are critical to your immune system. Even a single night of short sleep can reduce your virus fighting cells by 50%. Give yourself a dedicated 8 hours of sleep every night and practice good sleep hygiene.

3. Create a new routine. Establish a new routine that focuses on YOU as the priority so you can better help those in your family and your community who are in need. This is a perfect time to establish new habits and behaviors that will better serve you when life “ramps” back up into full fear. In these next few weeks, look to establish a strong foundation to support the rush of recovery that is to come.

4. Let’s join together. Even though we are living in a world that is temporarily socially distant, we can commit to one another that we won’t let fear and uncertainty drive us backward. Instead, we continue to move forward in a way that helps ourselves, our family and our community. Let’s continue to support one another and focus on the good. Let’s look at a slowed world as a time to refocus ourselves, a time to give to others in kindness and compassion, and a time to gain strength and prepare for the world’s recovery that is right around the corner.

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