As we age, our immune systems can weaken, leaving us vulnerable to infections and illness. Older adults are particularly susceptible to contracting respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia. The good news is that there are easy, natural ways to boost your immune system by making small changes to your lifestyle. Here are four ways to start strengthening your immune system today:
- Stay hydrated throughout the day. Older adults often experience less thirst, and become dehydrated easily as a result. We all need at least 8 glasses of fluids per day to keep our immune systems healthy and reduce our chances of contracting a cold or the flu. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, spruce it up by adding fresh lemons or cucumbers.
- Incorporate superfoods into your meals. Seniors can also experience dwindling appetites over time, causing them to have less variety in their diets. Eating “superfoods” such as salmon, blueberries and avocados is an easy way to boost the antioxidants in your diet and fight off illnesses. Older adults living in senior communities can work with nutritionists on site to ensure they get a supercharged diet.
- Build up your immune system with exercise. Physical activity is key to increasing blood circulation and maintaining a healthy, strong immune system. Experts recommend getting 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week to help prevent illnesses. Senior communities offer picturesque walking trails or fitness centers to help seniors stay physically active throughout their retirement years.
- Rest and recharge. Sleep helps our bodies respond to stress and inflammation, but it can be difficult for seniors to get enough sleep due to changing sleep patterns as they grow older. Without adequate sleep, older adults are more likely to become fatigued and develop a weakened immune system. To combat this problem, experts suggest seniors take a daily nap in addition to at least seven hours of sleep per night to give their bodies time to recharge and heal.