During the winter, and notably during our current pandemic, we are especially aware of trying to stay healthy. We all know that we need to keep our immune system working in tip top shape, but how do we do that exactly?
First, we know that stress and anxiety increase our risk of getting sick so we should find ways to reduce our anxiety. Luckily, moving our body is a great way to do this, as confirmed with a recent study in Sweden discussed in this article. This study of about ~400K people found that a group of physically active people had a 60% reduction in anxiety when compared to a group that weren’t physically active. Therefore we should work hard to exercise however and wherever we can.
If you can exercise outdoors, there may be some additional benefit to your immune system. Time outside can reduce your levels of stress hormones such as Cortisol and increase your level of vitamin D (called the sunshine vitamin), both of which are important in keeping our immune system healthy. Many people may know how vitamin D affects bone health as it allows our body to absorb calcium and keep our bones strong. But there has been more recent research demonstrating the link between vitamin D and our immune system. Increasing our production of vitamin D can be more difficult with increasing age. For young and old alike, getting enough sun gets harder to do in the winter with less intense sunshine and more time wearing winter clothes. Regardless of these challenges, we need to find ways to maximize time in the sun to encourage our body’s production of vitamin D.
It is also important to eat healthy. One way to do this is to “eat the rainbow.” This phrase references a need to increase the variety of fruits and vegetables that we eat by paying attention to their colors. The thought process is that different colors of plants provide different phytonutrients to our body. These chemical molecules are important for a variety of body systems but especially for boosting our immune system.
These are just a few ways to try to stay healthy. Whatever you choose to do, remember to encourage these things for your kiddo as well. By doing this you are modeling a healthy lifestyle along with encouraging socialization and emotional well-being. Research is backing up the knowledge that children do better being outside and eating fruits and vegetables just like adults.
If you want help finding ways to get your kiddo outside or help them eat a wide range of foods, reach out for an evaluation. Our therapists at Kid Physical have over 32 combined years experience offering specialized, holistic healthcare for children of all ages. Our top priority is providing support for both caregivers and children so that they can reach their highest potential.