We’ve all heard the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This phrase denotes how important it is to keep our bodies healthy and strong. The immune system, which fights off harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeast that can cause illness or disease, is an extremely important part of keeping your body healthy. Your immune system works hard every day, but there are simple things you can do to help strengthen it. Here are some tips for baby boomers to boost their immune systems.
#1 Get A Good Amount of Sleep Every Night
Getting adequate sleep plays an important role in your physical health. Not getting enough deep sleep has been associated with increased risk for chronic medical conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. One of the main chemicals that your body releases when you sleep is growth hormone. This chemical helps to regulate your metabolism and various other bodily processes, including strengthening your immune system.
#2 Eat A Healthy, Balanced Diet
A healthy diet is an important part of keeping your immune system strong. Eating plenty of whole foods, fruits, and vegetables can help lower risk for infections and insufficiencies in vitamin C have been associated with increased susceptibility to illness after stressful situations such as surgery. Fish oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body, which is linked to many chronic conditions such as heart disease and arthritis. So, incorporating fish or fish oil into a baby boomer’s diet can certainly help boost their immune systems.
#3 Exercise Regularly and Plenty of Sunshine
Getting regular exercise, even if it is only a short walk every day outdoors to get your daily dose of sunshine and vitamin D3, has significant health benefits for baby boomers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “physical inactivity is the second leading cause of preventable death” in the United States. The CDC also states that low levels of physical activity can increase risk for chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Baby boomers who get regular exercise are more likely to be healthier overall and thus have stronger immune systems than those who do not.
#4 Reduce Stress Levels
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), stress has many negative effects on our bodies including increasing risk for cardiovascular conditions, digestive tract ulcers and impaired wound healing. The NIH also states that chronic stress can suppress the immune system’s ability to fight disease in the short term, meaning that it is possible to get sick more often when your body is under a lot of stress. There are many ways for baby boomers to reduce their levels of stress. For example, yoga has been shown to help lower cortisol levels which are associated with stress; meditation works by calming the mind, reducing distracting thoughts and focusing on one thing at a time; listening to relaxing music lowers heart rate and blood pressure while boosting positive emotions.
#5 Stay in Touch with Friends and Family
According to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, loneliness and feeling disconnected from others significantly increases risk for cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. A study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science showed that baby boomers who were part of social groups such as reading clubs or playing sports had 30% reduced odds of dying in the 8 to 10-year period following the study. According to this study, “social relationships represent a potent source of health and well-being”. So, it is important for baby boomers to stay socially engaged with others to help maintain their immune systems.
#6 Stay Accountable
It is also important for baby boomers to stay accountable and to let other people know when they are not feeling well. Baby boomers who have a strong support system of family and friends are able to catch illnesses sooner which can help them get better faster. According to a study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, “social contacts may provide early warnings about changes in health status”. So, if a baby boomer starts developing a fever or flu-like symptoms, someone close to that person will be able to encourage them seek out medical attention before their illness becomes worse.
#7 Avoid Those Who Are Sick
It is important to avoid people who are sick. As a result of aging, baby boomers often feel less obligated to participate in health-promoting behaviors because they’re not as concerned about their own personal well-being. Also, staying away from people with symptoms can help prevent baby boomers from catching whatever illness that person has. Baby boomers are more likely than other age groups to die or become seriously ill if infected with the pandemic influenza viruses especially the COVID-19 virus. So, try your best not to be around people who are sick.
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#8 Get Regular Checkups
Getting regular check-ups from your physician is an important way for baby boomers to maintain their immune system. According to the CDC, “during your visit, be sure to tell the doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that concern you”. Getting regular check-ups can help catch issues before they become bigger problems.
These are just eight simple ways that baby boomers can boost their immune system. As you age, your body’s ability to fight disease naturally declines. However, there are many things that you can do as a baby boomer to keep yourself healthy and decrease risk for certain diseases such as cancer. Old age is associated with increased vulnerability to infectious diseases because of declines in memory T-cells which recognize viruses or bacteria that have been encountered before, but doing these simple things will increase your overall health and reduce your risk of getting sick.
Boosting your immune system as a responsible baby boomer is important because it helps reduce your risk of getting sick. So, make an effort, stay accountable and do what you can to keep yourself healthy!
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