Life After Lockdown: Getting into new habits for optimum health
by Lindsey Walton
Select London Lifestyle
It is against human nature to be isolated from others as we have an innate need to be sociable, so easing of restrictions will be welcomed by all. Being able to meet up with our friends and family will do wonders for our mental health, and in turn our physical health. Here are a few ways that we can make some healthy lifestyle changes as we exit lockdown.
Maintain regular exercise
The news that gyms are getting ready to re-open on 12 April, in line with Government guidance, is a relief for many as exercise has been shown to support mental and emotional wellbeing, also playing a significant role in maintaining a healthy immune system.
A study in The Journal of Sport and Health Science, highlighted that acute exercise is an immune system adjuvant that improves defence activity and metabolic health. Another benefit may include an enhanced antibody specific response when vaccinations are preceded by an acute exercise bout.
Eat more nutrient dense foods
As a nation, our track record for consistently meeting the minimum target guidelines of 5 portions of vegetables and fruit a day is not great. However now more than ever it is so important to support our bodies with nutrient dense foods, to keep our immune system working optimally.
Our favourite foods for supporting the immune system include:
Choose organic where possible – signing up for a weekly veg box is a great way to incorporate more goodness into our diet. We love www.abelandcole.co.uk, who have relationships with many organic producers across the country and curate fabulous fruit and veg boxes.
Leaving the alcohol behind
According to Drink-aware, overall more than a fifth (22%) of people in the UK, around 11.7m are drinking more since the lockdown began.
Once you drink alcohol, your body makes metabolising alcohol a priority. Unlike proteins, carbohydrates and fats, the body cannot store alcohol so it has to move to the front of the metabolising line. This affects your liver, making it work hard to detoxify and remove alcohol from your blood. Alcohol also has a detrimental effect on our immune system, striping the body of vital nutrients such as B12, folate, zinc and magnesium. Studies have shown that alcohol alters our microbiome (the numbers of good and bad bacteria in the gut). Thus, we need to be mindful of this, since 70% of our immune cells reside in the gut.
Sleep is key
A study by King’s College London found that significant numbers have experienced a change in sleep patterns since the beginning of lockdown with nearly 63% indicating their sleep was worse.
Sleep science has revealed the importance of sleep for virtually every system of the body. As research has developed it has become increasingly clear that sleep and the immune system are intrinsically linked. Consistent sleep strengthens the immune system, allowing for optimal immune function. Lack of sleep, by contrast, can weaken the immune system allowing for viruses to take hold more easily.
Studies have also shown that sleep improves the effects of vaccines, demonstrating sleep’s benefits for adaptive immunity.
Article written by Lindsey Walton Founder of Select London Lifestyle
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