by Henry Gould – March 13th, 2020
OK, it might be Friday the 13th, and we might be in the middle of a wee, ever so small, slightly disrupting (whispers….**pandemic**…) but let’s not lose the plot here people! We’re going to wash our hands, we’re going to self-quartantine if we feel sick, but overall we’re going to keep on keeping on.
Everything is going to be fine, deep breaths…
Even though the world is not going to implode, despite what the news keeps trying to tell us, it’s always a good idea to stay healthy and keep a strong immune system. If you regularly attend Yard Athletics training sessions it’s probably safe to say you take an interest in your own personal wellbeing. Exercise is hugely important to maintaining a good immune system (although too much can be detrimental…) but so are many other factors.
Let’s explore some! After all, the best offense is a good defense, right?
We’ve written lots about sleep on this blog. Bottom line is it’s hugely important to immune system function.
Often overlooked in how well we will sleep is the temperature of the room. Studies show that in fact, a cold room does make you sleep deeper and more consistently throughout the night.
For me personally, I need the temperature to be meat-locker cold in order to get a good nights rest. Some of the best sleeps I’ve ever had have been on camping trips where it dips below 0 degrees overnight.
One particularly interesting quote:
“We need melatonin to feel sleepy,” explains Whitney Roban, Ph.D. and advisory board member for the American Sleep Association. “A cool room will help cool the body so that our body temperature drops quicker and our melatonin production increases.”
If you’re having trouble sleeping, maybe drop that thermostat and open a window? After all, “Sleep Is Your Superpower“, just ask sleep expert Matthew Walker.
Diet and “going on a diet” are two very different things. In a perfect world, you should never need to go on a diet in the traditional sense (i.e. periods of fasting and / or altered food intake) because ideally you would be eating well the majority of the days in a year.
Eating well is not that difficult, the challenge comes from buying, preparing and cooking the foods you need to eat. Convenience is the biggest hinderance to a healthy diet, as well as knowledge of how to prepare. Obviously it’s way easier to get a $3 fast food burger than to buy vegetables and make a salad.
Diet has an enormous impact on immune function, which will not get better after one kale salad. Eating well needs to be done consistently over weeks and weeks to see the positive benefits.
Sometimes people wish all it took was a few healthy meals to see results, but if that were the case, it would mean one donut would have the opposite effect…
- Plants + Protein should form the basis of all your meals
- When you think of what you want to eat for a meal, what source of protein and what source of plants are included should be the major question you ask
- Protein sources: chicken, fish, pork, lamb, beef, quinoa, chickpeas, beans, tofu, peanut butter, cheese, yogurt, kefir, nuts
- Plants: green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli), carrots, bananas, celery, potatoes, cabbage, parsley, peppers, onions, beets, eggplants
- Meal prep
- Meal prepping makes a huge difference to staying on track with a healthy diet
- Buy more than you think at the grocery store, cook it all and then separate into containers for the week
- Staying hydrated has a huge impact on how we digest and process all foods
- When the body is dehydrated, especially over long periods of time, it becomes stressed. The stress hormone cortisol can cause issues with blood sugar, which can in turn lead to weight gain.
As mentioned above, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t a #YARDHARD regular. Exercise has a huge impact on our overall health and wellness, and needs to be something you do at least 5 times a week in some capacity, if not more. Some people try to sweat every day, to which we say, go for it. So long as it’s done in a balanced way (heavy deadlifts every day is not going to end well…).
Especially during times of cold and flu, you need to keep a strong immune system to help fend off any illness that might come your way. So long as you take the proper precautions like washing you hands before and after a workout (and not exercising when sick), hitting the gym is one of the best things you can do.
See you in the Yard…