October 29, 2018

Everyone knows that a strong immune system is one of the keys to living a longer, healthier life. Taking daily vitamins, eating nutritious foods, and washing your hands regularly are some behaviors that can help you maintain good health and a strong immune system. However, if you still find yourself getting sick frequently or suffering from fatigue, headaches, or other unpleasant symptoms, it’s possible some of your lifestyle habits may be contributing to a weakened immune system.

These 6 unsuspecting lifestyle habits can seriously compromise your immunity:

1. Too Much Sitting

Sitting down for long periods of time has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and early death. The more hours you spend watching TV, sitting in front of a computer, or lounging on the couch, the greater your odds of dying early. Experts say that 30 minutes of daily exercise may or may not be enough to combat the health risks associated with too much sitting. If you sit for long periods of time, take breaks every 30 minutes to stand up, stretch, and walk around to boost your immunity.

2. Overtraining

Exercising regularly is great for your overall health and your immune system. However, exercising too much without enough recovery between workouts can lead to problems including sleep loss, depression, reduced athletic performance, and menstrual irregularities in women. If your exercise routine is causing you to experience fatigue rather than increased energy, prolonged muscle soreness, or irritability, try decreasing the intensity of your workouts or take an extra day off for recovery.

3. Poor Stress Management

Stress is a normal response to threatening situations, but chronic stress that doesn’t go away can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness and disease. Stress increases the body’s levels of cortisol—a stress hormone that impairs the functioning of cells that fight infection. Chronic stress can also slow wound healing, contribute to obesity, and drive inflammation that can cause cancer. Take steps now to manage chronic stress and strengthen your immune system through meditation, deep breathing, or regular moderate-intensity exercise.

4. Excessive Alcohol Intake

People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol tend to be at increased risk for infectious diseases, take longer to recover from illnesses, and have more complications after surgery. Heavy alcohol intake can also affect organs that regulate immunity, such as the liver, which produces antibacterial proteins that ward off bacterial diseases. If you drink alcohol, limit your intake to no more than 4 drinks per day if you’re a man, and no more than 3 drinks per day if you’re a woman.  The total number of drinks per week should not exceed 14 drinks for men and 7 drinks for women.

5. Feeling Lonely

Loneliness is found to alter immune system cells in ways that promote inflammation, which increases the risk of serious diseases like cancer, when left untreated. People who suffer from loneliness, especially if they also live alone, tend to have weakened immune cells that lack the ability to effectively fight viruses, so they become more prone to viral infections. If you’re feeling lonely, find a new sense of purpose in life by volunteering your time, caregiving, or immersing yourself into a new community activity. Adopting a dog or a cat will assure that you are never alone. Taking care of a pet gives a sense of purpose, unconditional love, and companionship.

6. Sleep Deprivation

Lack of sleep impairs the function of cells and proteins that fight infection and disease, and may also increase the production of inflammatory markers that contribute to the common cold and flu. People who suffer from sleep deprivation are often more likely to develop serious medical conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Good sleep hygiene is going to sleep and waking up at the same times every day. Limit time using TVs, computers, and phones before bed to prevent sleep disturbances. If factors like insomnia and sleep apnea are contributing to sleep loss, work with a specialist to treat your sleep disorders.

Healthcare Associates of Texas offers a range of proven health services and treatments that can help you repair and boost your immune system. Request an appointment today to get started on improving your health so you can effectively ward off illness and disease.

References:

https://food.unl.edu/sitting-new-smoking-22-tips-sitting-less-and-moving-more

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/too-much-sitting-linked-to-an-early-death-201401297004

https://blog.content.health.harvard.edu/blog/columns/overtraining-when-pushing-hard-is-harmful/

https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/making-connection-between-chronic-stress-immune-response

http://www.emory.edu/msacd/news/Alcohols%20Effects%20on%20Immunity%20-%20Increasing%20the%20Risks%20for%20Infection%20and%20Injury.html

https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/How-much-is-too-much/Is-your-drinking-pattern-risky/Whats-Low-Risk-Drinking.aspx

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/08/care-connection

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/whats-in-it-for-you/health

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