As we get older, it’s no surprise that our body starts to decline. Unfortunately, our immune system declines as we age too.
According to Harvard Medical School, “While some people age healthily, the conclusion of many studies is that, compared with younger people, the elderly are more likely to contract infectious diseases and, even more importantly, more likely to die from them.” The study also mentions that scientists observe this increased risk correlates with a decrease in T cells. (T cells are needed to fight off infection.)
Because of this conclusion from renowned health and medical officials, it’s important to not let your guard down as you age and to do everything you can to naturally boost your immune system to help stave off deadly infections.
Five ways you can start boosting your immune system
1. Eat a diet full of nutrition
Older adults tend to eat less food, forgoing important vitamins and minerals that other people would normally consume on an average diet. Try to incorporate fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, or if necessary, take a multivitamin or mineral supplement. Recommended nutrients seniors need include, but are not limited to, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium.
2. Exercise regularly
Getting regular exercise, about 2 hours per week, has widely proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Experts also say exercise may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
3. Don’t smoke or quit smoking
Respiratory infections, cancer, heart disease, plus a whole range of other complications from smoking, can greatly diminish your immune system’s ability to fight against germs and infection.
4. Get adequate sleep
As we get older, have retired from our careers and do not have a regular work and activity schedule, it’s hard for our bodies to cycle through a normal sleep rhythm. Because our activity diminishes as we age, it’s important to keep to a schedule of exercise and mental stimulation so your body is tired enough to sleep through the night. When our bodies rest, it gives the immune system a chance to help our bodies heal.
5. Minimize stress
While it’s easier said than done, minimizing the amount of stress in your life has been found to help keep sickness and disease at bay. Harvard Medical School concludes, “a wide variety of maladies, including stomach upset, hives and even heart disease, are linked to the effects of emotional stress.”
The bottom line is that choosing a healthy lifestyle is your first line of defense in boosting your immune system as you age. Plus, choosing healthy habits benefits our body with weight loss, lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
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If you’re a senior or caregiver looking for independent living, assisted living or memory care services for you or your loved one, contact us to schedule a tour or request information about a community near you.