30 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System

Get-Fit Guy has 30 tips to boost your immune system to avoid cold and flu viruses this season. Learn how to make your immune system stronger using stress, exercise, sleep, supplements, and even dirt!

Ben Greenfield
Episode #211

Tip #2: Get More Sleep

Sleep is when your cells, nervous system, and immune system repair and recover – so if you short yourself on deep, quality sleep, then you may find yourself not only tired and cranky, but also coming down with the sniffles. Here are your sleep hygiene best practices:

  • Darkness: Keep your room completely dark and avoid glaring screens such as phones, ereaders, televisions, and computers. I personally use a sleep mask and keep the lights in my room very dim prior to bed.

  • Silence: If you live in a loud area, then earplugs are a must. A white noise sound machine or app on your phone can also cover up disturbing noise.

  • Cold: Most people sleep best at about 65-700, so make sure your room isn’t too warm.

  • Activity: Don’t perform intense exercise too close to bedtime, but do go out of your way to stay active throughout the day so you’re more tired when you finally hit the pillow.

  • Food: Huge doses of carbohydrates in the evening can spike blood sugar and insulin and lower your levels of nighttime leptin, which is a hormone crucial to melatonin release. So go easy on the chocolate in the pm and consider lower sugar snacks instead, like an avocado with olive oil and sea salt, or some raw nut butter mixed with coconut oil.

  • Destress: At least an hour before bed, try to stop any work-related activity such as emails, phone calls or stressful tasks, and instead read a relaxing book or listen to some soothing music.

  • Nutrients: If you have difficulty sleeping, consider natural relaxants such as melatonin, magnesium, or passionflower extract.

  • Morning light: A good dose of morning sunlight exposure can help to jumpstart a healthy circadian rhythm and actually help you sleep better when night arrives.

Tip #3: Move it!

You already know that your lymph system is a component of your immune system and one of your immune strengthening strategies should be to keep lymph flow circulating through your body. Here are some ways you can do it without necessarily hitting the gym every time you need to move:

  • Vibration: I’ve written about vibration’s effect on strength in a previous Get-Fit Guy article. But standing on a vibration platform for 5-15 minutes a day will also get your lymph fluid circulating (there are small models you can use in your own home).

  • Trampolining: Just like vibration, jumping up and down on a trampoline or mini-trampoline can be a fantastic lymph fluid circulating activity and more fun than simply cranking out jumping jacks.

  • Yoga: Yoga is not only fantastic for de-stressing and lowering blood pressure, it can also keep lymph fluid circulating. I personally start off each day with 10-15 minutes of yoga and light stretching

  • Inversion: Yoga inversion poses, or hanging upside down on an inversion table, can drain your legs and get both blood and lymph fluid circulating.

  • Tai Chi: Like yoga, Tai Chi is a series of slow moves that can boost your immune system strength.

  • Nature walks: The Japanese actually have a name for nature walks – they call it “Shin-Yen” or “forest bathing.” Getting out in the fresh air while seeing green plants and trees is a fantastic immune system boost that also strengthens the lymph system.

  • Swimming: As long as the water isn’t too cold and overly stressful (yes, you can have too much stress!), swimming is a fantastic lymph circulating activity.

  • Hot-cold contrast: Here’s one creative way to get lymph fluid moving: simply use the cold and hot setting on your shower to alternate between cool water and hot water. This will cause your lymph vessels and blood vessels to slowly dilate and constrict, which circulates fluid.


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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