When it comes to maintaining your health, your immune system is always on guard to do battle with nasty pathogens who want to invade your body and do it harm. In order to keep your immune system army strong and ready to fight, you need to do your part by helping it stay healthy and optimized. Unfortunately, there are many things you may be doing that could be weakening your immune system.
Below, you will find seven ways you're weakening your immune system so you can identify the issue and work towards fixing it.
2. Not Relieving Daily Stress
Stress affects all of us on a daily basis – sometimes without us even realizing it. When we are stressed, the body releases a stress hormone called cortisol. Should stress levels and cortisol remain elevated, it can lead to weakening your immune system – which can lead to various illnesses and diseases.
You want to do something each day to help better manage your stress levels. This can be exercising, sitting in a quiet room, utilizing deep breathing techniques, or even meditating.
2. Not Getting Enough Quality Sleep Each Night
Not getting enough sleep each night could be weakening your immune system. Rest is your body's way of managing stress and recovering. Lack of sleep can impair your cell's ability to effectively fight off pathogens that can cause you to fall ill. Not getting enough sleep also stresses the body, which can raise cortisol levels, which increases ghrelin (a hunger hormone), which can then lead to excessive weight gain (another factor that can lead to weakening your immune system).
Try to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. A good night's sleep is a great way to feel refreshed the next morning while also keeping your immune system functioning properly.
3. Overtraining and Not Recovering Properly
While exercise is a good thing, too much can lead to the weakening of your immune system. If you are exercising with great intensity and not allowing your body to properly rest and recover between workouts, you're doing more harm than good.
If you are overtraining, you may find you aren't able to sleep at night, you feel somewhat depressed, and your performance in the gym starts to decline. Pay close attention to these signs so you can address them promptly.
As they say, "Too much of a good thing is never a good thing." If you want to stay in shape and help boost your immunity, make sure you provide your body and muscles with adequate rest before hitting the gym again and working the same muscle groups.
4. Poor Nutritional Habits and Diet
One look at the American diet, and it's easy to see why you're weakening your immune system. The average American consumes high amounts of fat, sugar, and highly-processed foods – all of which can lead to inflammation and cause your immune system to take a hit.
With so many things that can negatively affect immunity, your diet and nutritional habits are personal choices. Look at the things you eat on a daily basis and try to make substitutions for the items you KNOW are not healthy. Strive to eat a well-balanced diet that consists of healthy carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
5. Not Moving Enough Throughout the Day
Getting 30 minutes of exercise five days a week is all you need to achieve health benefits and aid in boosting your metabolism and immune system. That's only 150 total minutes a week – next to nothing. Americans sit too much. We sit during the commute to work or school. Then we sit all day at work or at school. When complete, we jump back in our cars and drive home – seated. At night, many sit in front of the television and binge watch Netflix. Hungry? You sit to eat. See a pattern?
Lack of movement and exercise could be weakening your immune system and can lead to larger issues such as heart disease, diabetes, various forms of cancer, and even an early death. Break free from your sedentary lifestyle and focus on moving more to boost your immunity.
6. Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes (as if it weren't bad enough for your overall health) could be weakening your immune system by affecting your lung's ability to fight off pathogens that enter and clear infections. Additionally, the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes also do the body harm. This can cause respiratory issues and lung diseases. There's no good or healthy reason to light up a cigarette as there truly aren't any benefits associated with them.
It should come as no surprise, but if you are a smoker, you want to quit – for a plethora of reasons.