Mar 17, 2020
3 Minutes to Less Stress and a Better Immune System
I want to help you get to experience stress and a better immune system today. I thought about how best to support you today during this podcast. I pulled the regularly scheduled podcast in order to serve you better.
If you want to go straight to the breathing technique you can skip to the end of this podcast, it will be in the last 5 minutes. I’m going to keep this one short. I want to offer support and then let you move on through your day. I have other ways to support you. Our Flipping 50 members have access to dozens of exercise workouts inside their membership. And I’m also hosting live yoga, short at home cardio, and strength training daily to the Facebook and Instagram, or YouTube channels.
We’re At Home Again
Back in the 80s Faith Popcorn coined a term “cocooning”. It was staying inside one’s home, insulated from perceived danger. The trend toward cocooning was predicted to return in the 21st century by other economists and marketing trend experts in 2019.
Who knew it would be due to the Corona virus. We saw a similar thing happen after 911. Home entertainment centers grew, Netflix was born, in home wine cellars and use of home saunas have increased. People – you listening - choose more to exercise at home. We enjoy going out but we enjoy eating food, and in some cases preparing it when it can be simple, fresh and taste delicious. We like knowing it’s good for us.
So even in this time of quarantine or semi-quarantine where we are observing social distancing to give hospitals and healthcare professionals a fighting chance, there is an upside.
Yes, We're Stressed
I will give a nod first to what we all know and not dwell on it. Yes, businesses will be impacted. Some small businesses won’t survive. Others who pivot and can serve will emerge better. Isn’t it true… that sometimes God pushes you in a direction that you wouldn’t have gone yourself? I know you have concerns for your health or your wealth, and your family, as do I. I too wake up in the middle of the night in the past few nights wondering about this moment we’re in with such an unpredictable future.
With our cooperation though, with a few short weeks of observing good practices we can together end this. Doing our part in pulling back, minimizing exposure, and connecting with others in safe ways and keeping ourselves healthy is wise.
That’s what I want to focus on here. The simple basics that you can do so that if you’re home-bound you have healthy options in terms of both nutrition, exercise, and your sleep support.
Boost your Immune System During Corona
All of these are intended to boost your immune system and I’m going to start with exercise. First to state the obvious: everything hormone balancing is also immune boosting. You’re here. You’re already doing the right thing. Let this reinforce for you that you do have a strong immune system.
If you’ve needed a reason to recommit to good habits, it’s here, girlfriend.
Ways to Boost Your Immune System After 50 with Exercise
1) Exercise in the “just right” Goldilocks range.
Duration - shorter is better, when you increase your duration beyond an hour of anything your immune system – especially during times of emotional stress- is going to take a hit. If you get colds and flu frequently anyway, don’t over do exercise right now. You are more susceptible already.
If you’re someone with tons of exposure to others but you never get sick, don’t overlook your exposure. Your immune system is still working potentially to fight off things even as you don’t get sick.
Intensity – yes, reach muscular fatigue with each of your three sets of weights, and get breathless with your intervals
Frequency - two or three times a week with a maximum of 45 minutes of actual intervals (hard and easy), twice a week strength training, as many days as you’re used to of yoga or a bit more if you know you feel best with more
Strength train, do intervals, take short to moderate length walks, practice yoga or stretching if you prefer.
Above all, move. Get outdoors and take a walk, a hike, a bike ride. Play with the kids. Breath in fresh air. Don’t sit for hours staring at a social media or news stations. Don’t get sucked into hours of Netflix. Make movement a mandatory part of your day.
Remember your focus may not be on calories, or fat burning, or muscle right now. Focus on doing the exercise that boosts your serotonin and reduces your cortisol. That is what will support less stress and boost your immune system.
2) Buy shelf-stable foods you can use just in case.
One of the things I’m doing right now is relying on smoothies high in protein with fiber and veggies. Cravings are going to increase due to stress and especially if you’re not sleeping as well. Protein and fiber kill cravings. I fill my smoothies with a serving of either Plant or Paleo protein and add my Fiber Boost product to it.
I should say this because someone always asks – Fiber Boost is the name of the product. It’s an easy way to add 5 grams of fiber to my smoothies. I use avocado and nuts or seeds, flax or chia seeds too. The berries also will have a little, but my goal is to have 15 grams at breakfast – combined with about 30 grams of protein, I’m full for hours and not even tempted with distractions as I focus through my morning.
Stock up on beans and legumes if you can. Make your own soups or chili rather than buy the canned kind with added sodium or preservatives. Add some of your protein options to the cupboard or the freezer.
Bone broth either that you make or purchase will support your gut.
Make some meals ahead while you’re spending a little more time at home.
And then, focus on the fresh produce and make it your staple.
Avoid the temptation to go to your comfort junk food. Chips and popcorn are not your friend here.
Foods too can change your mood. Sadly the instant gratification that some of those junk foods give are very short lived and the half-life of negative effects lasts for more than a day. You can treat yourself. I’m going to put some of my favorite smoothie recipes in the show notes. In the guides I’ve got chunky monkey for you chocolate lovers, orange Julius without the sugar for you citrus fans.
3) Prioritize your sleep and rest.
Always a priority in the After 50 Fitness Formula for Women, right now this is about reducing any stress. It may be tempting to watch movies, and hopefully not the news at night. Shut those screens down 90 minutes before bed.
The sleep you need will help you cope with stress better. It will give your body the best possible fighting chance to continue to support your exercise goals and now, keep your immune system strong.
Pick up a book instead of screen. Eat a few carbohydrates – the good kind like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice or beans at dinner – they help you create serotonin which helps calm you and put you into a relaxed state ready for sleep.
Thousands of women who’ve gone through my 28-Day Kickstart now also report that just that change boosted their mood, helped them be more regular –because that’s where most of your fiber is in your starchy carbs, and helps them sleep better.
You just want the right kinds- resistant starches. So don’t confuse broccoli and carrots as carbs. They have a few but the type we’re in need of for sleep and serotonin are those I mentioned and they are resistant starches – resistant to spikes in blood sugar and therefore fat storage.
Good news, right?
They’ll also help you feel more like exercising. If you have energy you feel like moving.
4) Breath deeply.
Do this before you exercise. Do it before you eat every meal. Do it before you go to sleep. Do it in traffic if you are out there driving. Do it when someone else’s response feels nuts to you.
Take 3 deep breaths. Close your eyes if you want to.
Each time you exhale fully feel your shoulders fall away from your ears.
Feel the muscles around your eyes and your mouth relax.
Relax the muscles in your jaw.
Take 3 more deep breaths.
With each deep breath in and out this time think of something you are truly grateful for right now. Feel your heart swell as you not only think about it, but experience the gratitude.
Take 3 more deep breaths.
This time focus on three people you love - one with each breath.
Take 3 more deep breaths. Imagine a moment in your life that made you laugh out loud with each breath. Is there a story that makes you smile every time you tell it? Is it a story that wasn’t so funny at the time but has been ever since?
That moves you into parasympathetic response. When you’re there you can create more stomach acid to digest your food better. You can respond from a place of calm even with things going on around you out of your control. When you can decrease your stress level by small bits regularly like this you reduce cortisol and its damaging effects. Just by breathing.
Just Breath or Move
You of course can combine this with yoga or other movement. You can talk through it with your family. How fun would it be to communicate with them and learn what they thought about? Even in this social distancing moment we’re in you can stay connected to others.
Let me know if this was helpful. Let me know how else I can support you. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My STRONGER I program is open for enrollment. If you don’t have a strength training program in place, one designed for women before during or after menopause, you can learn more at flippingfifty.com/getstronger and it is 50% off for you all week. It begins April 1.
If this was helpful, please share it with a friend. We all need a little support and simple tricks right now.
Be well, friends.