The immune system is an important part of older adults staying healthy. It is responsible for fighting off the germs that cause cold, flu, and other illnesses. As people age, their immune systems may become weakened. Fortunately, there are steps your aging relative can take to boost their immune system and make it more able to combat bacteria and viruses. Below are some tips for seniors to support their immune systems.
Be Physically Active
Exercise doesn’t just keep muscles strong, it also strengthens the immune system. When your older family member exercises, white blood cells, and antibodies move throughout the body more quickly. In addition, exercise reduces stress hormones, which also reduces the chances of getting ill.
Research supports the positive effects of exercise on the immune system. In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine people who exercise a minimum of 5 days each week had about a 50 percent lower chance of catching a cold. And, when they did get sick, their symptoms usually weren’t as bad.
One thing seniors should keep in mind, though. There is an optimal amount of exercise. When older adults exercise too much, it can be too hard on the body and make getting sick more likely. Experts recommend 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day, 5 days of the week.
Get Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep raises stress hormones which, again, raises the risk of getting ill. In fact, studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep don’t get as strong of protection from the flu vaccine. How exactly sleep boosts the immune system isn’t well understood. However, experts say its best for people to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
Eat a Balanced Diet
People who eat a diet that includes too much sugar are harming their immune system. Sugar makes it harder for immune cells to battle bacteria. Older adults should follow a diet that focuses on vegetables, fruit, low-fat proteins, and whole grains. Some foods that are particularly helpful to the immune system are fruits that are high in vitamin c, garlic, certain kinds of mushrooms, and, yes, chicken soup.
Senior care can assist older adults in staying healthier in several ways. A senior care provider can help your loved one to get more exercise through offering activities at home that get them moving, taking walks with them, or by driving them to the gym to take a senior fitness class.
Senior care providers can also prepare balanced, healthy meals from fresh ingredients. And, when it comes time to go to bed at night, a senior care provider can help the older adult to practice good sleep habits, such as going to bed at the same time each night and limiting distractions that prevent them from falling asleep.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care Services in Glencoe, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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