by Nancy Alexander, PT, CSCS
So many people think it’s natural for your activity to decline as you age. Are you one of them? Truth is, many of you are physically capable of moving but you don’t. Know this — movement as you age is more important than at any other time in your life. To enjoy a high quality of life, you must move and continue to move.
Movement is medicine and I back that up in my upcoming book, “Get UP! Defy Aging with Movement.” Among the many things 2020 has taught us, we’ve learned the importance of maximizing our body’s immunity. And movement plays a big role in this. Movement can put you in the driver’s seat because it helps boost your immunity. You can help control your destiny and just that notion is a comfort, isn’t it?
I must admit that when I first heard “older people” were at much greater risk for complications if infected with the novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19), I was scared. What is old age? I thought. Do they mean 65 and older? At what age are we older? What we perceive is a conversation for another day.
In regards to this disease, we are still learning the demographics. Regardless, what is it about this older generation — arguably more health conscious than previous generations — that would make us more vulnerable to complications from this virus (or any virus really) than our younger folks? Co-morbidities aside, the answer can be described in one word – age. That’s it, age.
Your immune system changes as you get older. It becomes slower to respond and this can help increase your risk of getting sick. Flu shots or other vaccines may not work as well or protect you for as long as expected. There are fewer immune cells in your body to bring about healing. This reduces your ability to resist infection. As you age, your immune system’s ability to detect and correct cell defects also declines. A type of cell called a T cell is responsible for circulating through your body to help detect infection and with aging, it circulates more slowly.
Movement, however, can help boost your immune system. Movement and exercise help improve the circulation of your immune cells. As a result, your immune cells can roam the body more quickly and more effectively to find pathogens and eradicate them. Exercise consistently and you have a powerful housekeeping activity which helps your immune system patrol the body, detect and then get rid of bacteria and viruses.
According to Mark Moyad, M.D., M.P.H., Jenkins/Pokempner Director of Preventive and Alternative Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center, “activity causes your body’s antibodies and white blood cells to circulate more rapidly, which means they may be able to detect and zero in on bugs more quickly.” “Being active this way also lowers stress hormones, which reduces your chances of getting sick,” Moyad adds. (Hallie Levine, AARP: 5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System, March 21, 2020, AARP.org)
Hallie Levine also notes that research suggests that exercise’s effects may be directly relevant to virus fighting. According to a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, of 1,002 people surveyed, those who exercised at least five days a week had almost half the risk of coming down with a cold as those who were more sedentary. If they did get one, they reported less severe symptoms. (Hallie Levine, AARP: 5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System, March 21, 2020, AARP.org)
Now, more than ever, we need to Get UP! and move. We understand more the value of keeping our immune system at the top of its game. Move, and more importantly, make movement a key part of your overall strategy to improve your health, fitness level and your quality of life.
JOIN US: Take Control Back and Boost Your Immunity NOW
Winter is coming and many of you will be indoors more. You can’t stop winter from coming but you can change your focus to what you can control. Find out how simple lifestyle changes can boost your immunity by attending, ” 7 Ways to Boost Your Immunity at Any Age.” Sure enough, movement is one of them.
As we get older, our immune system does not usually respond as quickly or as forcefully to pathogens as it used to when we were younger. However, there are proven ways to boost your immunity, regardless of how old you are. With readings from Nancy’s upcoming book, “Get UP! Defy Aging with Movement,” you’ll learn 7 ways you can improve your immune system. Strengthening your mind and your body has never been more important.
7 Ways to Boost Your Immunity at Any Age
Date: Thursday, November 12, 2020
A Zoom presentation hosted by Oasis Rochester
Joining Oasis Rochester is FREE. Small fee for class.
Visit https://rochester.oasisnet.org/ from anywhere in the US for more information and to register.