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Immunity & Exercise

· Nutrition,Health,Immunity,Strength Training
Since March, I have heard no end of all the things people "should" be doing to "prevent the spread", "flatten the curve", and now, "bend the curve".

These things include:

  • Wearing a non-medical mask. (On the presumption that you are an asymptomatic carrier of the COVID-19 virus)
  • Using hand sanitizer at every opportunity to kill any potential COVID-19 germs.  (Forgetting that overuse of hand sanitizer can actually make us more susceptible to germs.)
  • Staying 6 feet away from other humans.  (This one appears to be one of the most effective.)
  • Staying the f@ck home when you're sick.  (Also effective, not just for COVID-19.)
  • Washing your hands with soap, especially if you have been out and about and touched a lot of surfaces that others may have touched.  (Again, also effective, and not just for COVID-19.)
  • Not having any in person social interaction.  (I could say SO MANY things about this one and the implications on mental health, but I'll save that for another day.)

What I haven't heard ANYTHING about is how to improve one's immunity.

I haven't seen one piece of propaganda encouraging people to do any of the following:
  • Increase their Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is a HUGE factor in, among other things, immunity. In the words of my doctor, "Everyone's deficient. [Even in the summer.] Take a supplement.". RDA ranges from 2000-5000 IUs a day depending on the source you reference. I take 4000 IUs a day.
  • Eating more leafy green veggies or veggies that haven't been cooked within an inch of their life such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, and the like (potatoes and yams don't count). Your average plate for lunch and dinner at the minimum should contain 40-50% veggies and "green stuff".
  • Lowering simple carbohydrate intake, including refined and brown/golden sugar, but also BREAD, PASTA, POTATOES, and even FRUIT. Yes, for real. While it's wonderful that the whole world suddenly decided they were going to learn to make bread while locked down, flour is still a simple carb.  Fruit is loaded with lots of vitamins and often fibre, but it's still a simple carbohydrate, so consume in moderation.  Keep the combination of ALL simple carbs to a maximum of 25% of your plate.
  • REDUCING ALCOHOL INTAKE. This is a big one. Listen, I love beer. I love wine. I love whisky. I love vodka. But I know how crappy I feel if I consume too much. I know how well I don't sleep if I have a stiff drink too close to bedtime. Or if I have half a glass too much of wine or beer. I consume in extreme moderation. Alcohol is deadly for your immune system. Want to improve your immunity? Dial down the booze.
  • And finally, STRENGTH TRAINING. Not endurance-based strength training - you know, the kind of exercises that involve 50 reps of something, but rather strength training that means you can do 5-10 reps and only have a couple of reps left. Walking outdoors is wonderful - and certainly good for circulation, heart health, and mental health (weather permitting), but it won't do the same things for your muscles that putting them under heavy resistance training will. The metabolic and mitochondrial response - assuming you aren't overtraining - is extraordinarily beneficial in maintaining a functional immune system.  Unfortunately for many, with gyms closed, this becomes a challenge. And while many people have been able to make the switch to training at home or online, just as many others have found themselves out of luck.

What I want to know is, along with the big picture measures of distancing, mask wearing, and more hand sanitizer than the world ever needed to see, why haven't the health authorities spent more time educating people about ways to improve their immune systems?

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