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Boosting the Immune System in the Golden Years | 8 no-nonsense tips

February 1, 2016
 



Like it or not, cold, flu, and just-about-everything-else season is upon us. While we’d all like the sniffles (or worse) to leave us alone, we can’t just cross our fingers and hope for the best. Particularly so for older adults, when the immune system can begin to decline, taking extra steps to support your system takes effort. Luckily, there are several things we can do to give our bodies a healthy boost that aren’t difficult at all. In fact, we think you’ll like these 8 tips way better than you’d like sniffling and sneezing, so give them a try!

  1. Get your vaccines. Work with your physician to ensure you’re up-to-date on vaccinations. These can be your #1 line of defense to unnecessary illnesses.
     
  2. Hydrate. How’s that for easy? Drink your water. Your body will do its best to flush out the bad stuff before it becomes a problem if you give it enough fluid to do so. Since older adults tend to sense thirst less than the spring chickens, keeping a nice water cup handy throughout the day will encourage yourself to drink up. Remember, soup, juice, tea, and the like all count as hydration, too!
     
  3. Eat well. Fuel your body with wholesome nutrition, and it’ll thank you by doing its best to fight off every grubby virus it comes across. Remember that moderation is key, so, no, that caffeinated soda won’t make you catch the cold, and that spinach salad won’t cure you. Be reasonable, and be good to yourself. Aim to devour fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and keep things low in fat and sugar.
     
  4. Spend quiet time. Your body is a temple, and it should be treated with TLC. When you feel the hustle and bustle of life getting to you, or if you experience the opposite, and long for the days when you had a fuller plate, remind yourself that 10 minutes to spend deep breathing is worth the time lost in working on your to-do list or time better spent than wallowing. A peaceful body is one that stays healthy.
     
  5. Sleep. While we’re talking about tranquility, don’t forget how important sleep is. Think of a solid night’s sleep as a shield between you and illness. Restful zzzzz’s help our bodies respond better to stress, so make it a priority to get yourself in bed at a reasonable hour, and hold yourself to it.
     
  6. Supplement your diet. When you’re feeling yourself wearing thin, or when everyone you know seems to have a cough, it doesn’t hurt to ask your physician about bolstering your immunity with added vitamins or supplements. Be it Vitamin C, zinc, garlic, echinacea, probiotics, elderberry, or something else, you may want to consider doing yourself the favor of added power to keep the germs from affecting you.
     
  7. Move your body. Yep, exercise is notable for a lot of good reasons – one being that it puts a nice pep in your immune system’s step. One walk on the treadmill boosts circulation, clears you mind, and contributes to a calmer, happier you, which equals a healthier you.
     
  8. Do what makes you smile. Is it painting? Coffee hour with your friends? Taking your pup for a walk? Church? Make it an important part of your day – the endorphins and sense of fulfillment that result from doing what you love are priceless to overall wellbeing. Consider joining a club or touring a senior living community if you find your life lacking in opportunities for social and recreational activities.

    Age does affect the immune system, but that doesn’t mean you’ll succumb to every cold going around. Incorporate a few of these tips into your daily lifestyle and revel in your wellness. Make it a great day and stay healthy!

    What’s been your experience with immune boosting techniques? Have something to share or add to our list? Leave a reply below!

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