Your Immune Routine for Long-lasting Health

Your Body’s Natural Defender

Just beyond your physical barrier, your immune system is the next line of defense against germs and infection. If your outer defenses—skin, tears, mucus, and other barriers—are breached, your immune system responds to a barrage of pathogens.

Natural ways to boost your immune system are crucial to a healthy lifestyle. Given your immune support is just that, a system, balance and harmony are essential for optimal, effective responses to disease-causing microorganisms that attempt to invade the body. A firm foundation of health takes time to build and extends far beyond acute threats and seasonal outbursts. The daily choices you make change your state of health and well-being, but what can you do to make a lasting difference over time?

Add these five lifestyle habits to your daily routine to make a lasting impact on your immune system health.

7:00 a.m. – Energize Your Day

Each health journey is different. A fit and healthy body lets you move with ease and enjoy a full life. Improving your body composition can strengthen your immune system over time. Excess body fat is linked to chronic inflammation, which can potentially interfere with your body’s ability to create an acute immune response—like a pathogen invasion. Similar to background noise in the body, ambient levels of inflammation from extra adipose tissue can cause a lingering, low-grade immune response. This ambient noise makes it more difficult for your defense system to be as effective when you’re faced with incoming disease- and illness-causing microorganisms.

For a robust and balanced immune system boost, start your day with a run, hike, yoga class, or weightlifting session to make steady body composition improvements for overall health. Consistent exercise can also greatly improve your quality of sleep and help to balance your blood sugar. Find an activity that’s fun, fits into your lifestyle, and is worth the effort to make a daily habit.

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10:00 a.m. – Eat a Healthy Breakfast

The keyword here is “healthy.” Immune-boosting foods are nutrient-dense—full of the vitamins and minerals—to protect your health and stimulate immune cell production. Healthy nutrition is a must to build your immune system for consistent support of your natural defenses.

Experiment with delaying your first healthy meal for a few hours. You may benefit from improved blood sugar as you keep your insulin levels lower for longer between meals. Individuals with poor blood sugar regulation may be more susceptible to infections. After a restful night’s sleep and your morning workout, see how pushing back your first meal fits into your immune routine.

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2:00 p.m. – Break from Stress

Busy days at home or the office are all too common in our current lifestyles. There’s an unspoken agreement to push our bodies to the limit, often at the expense of our health. And during times of acute stress, your body can either amaze you by how well it adapts, or it may fail to perform. Take action with a daily stress management strategy. Reduced stress can create a symbiotic, immunity-boosting effect to make each daily task more manageable.

The advice to stop and smell the roses is great for both your body and mind. It’s important to take time to destress, breathe, and meditate each day. We each have a level of volitional control over our response to stress. The more resilient control you have over your body’s stress response, the more success you’ll have with sleep quality and dietary choices. And you may even be more pleasant to be around. Our minds can be trained through the breath. For more parasympathetic rest, and a stronger immune system, find a way to fit in a short meditation practice or breathwork session daily. Enjoy a slow walk between meetings, close your office door and silence your phone—whatever it takes to integrate this habit for health and immunity.

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8:00 p.m. – Plunge into Cooler Waters

Cold thermogenesis may seem like a tough habit to add to your daily lifestyle, but it’s simpler than you think. Temperature and thermal stress, like cold exposure during a cold plunge or shower, affects levels of brown adipose tissue. This brown fat is intimately tied to your immune system. It might seem like a big ask, but flipping the dial from hot to cold during your nightly rinse off can support your body’s immune system over time. Start with 30 seconds at the end of your shower and slowly increase the duration of thermal stress each night. Or, you can always jump in and get cold intentionally—at any point in the day.

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10:00 p.m. – Get Your ZZZ’s

Sleep hygiene is a popular health topic, and for good reason. Prioritizing your sleep each day, following a consistent sleep schedule, is one of the most important habits you can develop for long-term immunity health. From a circadian biology standpoint, your body does a lot of work to repair cells, and your immune system functions optimally during the precious hours of slumber. Unchanging bedtimes and wake cycles that fall in line with your body’s circadian clock system can lessen imbalances within your immune system. Make your last step in your daily immune routine one that counts, so you can wake refreshed and ready to go.

Each part of your daily immune routine leads to success in other areas of health. Your intricate immune system functions best when you’re at your best. One change can have a cascading effect, not just with increased immunity, but improved health, a more active lifestyle, and a better, more positive overall well-being.

What’s the best part of your immune routine? Share in the comments.

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