Question: My “resolution” is to prioritize my health in 2021 and boost my immune system. Other than keeping six feet apart and washing my hands, what should I be focusing on?
Answer: Great goal! I think this past year has taught us all to value our health. When it comes to overall health and immunity, there is so much information out there it can feel impossible to know where to begin. To simplify things, here are my favorite tips.
- Choose fresh foods over processed when possible. Try to limit the number of packaged foods you purchase when grocery shopping. You are more likely to make that unhealthy choice if you have it in your home! Processed foods tend to be higher in sodium, sugar, and fats which can lead to weight gain and health problems. Aim for more fresh fruits and veggies as they’re full of antioxidants to keep you healthy!
- Make an effort to drink more water! We hear this often, and there’s a good reason, as it is one of the best choices we can make to stay healthy. My rule of thumb is half of your body weight in ounces. Example: if you weigh 150 pounds you’ll want to aim for 75 ounces per day. Added bonus: staying hydrated can cure cravings and keep you feeling full so you don’t snack throughout the day!
- Don’t forget to exercise! Exercise boosts blood flow, keeps you mentally sane, and improves cardiovascular health. It also can help lower blood pressure, control your weight, and prevents several other diseases. It does not have to be difficult – start by adding in 30 minutes of walking each day!
- Fill the gaps in your nutrition with vitamins. It can be hard to know where to begin with supplements. A healthy diet meets most of your daily needs, but there can be gaps that leave your immune system working harder. Research shows micronutrient deficiencies can raise the rate of sickness. I recommend chatting with your doctor about your specific needs, but some basic vitamins include zinc, iron, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, D, and E. Seem like a lot? A daily multivitamin should include most of these and can be beneficial to your overall health.
Lastly, to echo the CDC and countless health care professionals: wash your hands, keep your distance, and wear a mask when necessary. I fully believe 2021 will be the year we all try to do better with these basic steps to ensure we stay healthy and physically able to do all the things that are important to us. If you’re needing some accountability, guidance, and support, hiring a health coach can be a great option!
Jayme Smid is the club manager at Anytime Fitness in Brandon. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at [email protected]