Exercising to boost your immunity

Monday March 29 2021
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Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity three days a week. PHOTO/urbanfaith.com

By Joan Salmon

It is important for your body to stay active lest it goes into ‘sleep mode’ where organs stop working as well as they used to. That said, you are what you eat, the reason it is important to watch what you feed your body.

Innocent Kwame, a nutritionist, says since Covid-19 is still affecting us, eating natural foods is good for your health. “Fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods give us variety in colour and nutrients, which help in boosting our immunity. That way, we can withstand colds and flu,” he says. Some of the nutrients include:

Vitamin D
One of the sources of this vitamin is the sun. However, Kwame says it should be the early morning sun as it is not scorching. “It can also be got from liver (but should be eaten in moderation), egg yolk and cheese. If for one reason or another you cannot consume those foods, you can also get the vitamin through taking supplements. 

Vitamin C
Eating citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerine, vegetables such as carrots, avocados, and broccoli will help you get lots of vitamin C so you will not always be in running battles with low immunity. “However, if you do not have access to any of these, getting a vitamin C supplement will also come in handy,” Kwame advises.

Zinc
This mineral is said to be crucial in the fight against pneumonia and colds and it can found in legumes such as beans, whole grains, and seeds. Other foods include mushrooms, broccoli and spinach. According to Kwame, one can also take zinc supplements.

Fitness
Ian Musinguzi, a fitness trainer, says it is important to remember that more is never better. He adds that when one exercises, their muscles undergo wear and tear. If the exercising is done vigorously and frequently, more so for beginners, this could result into inflammation. He thus advises that one starts with cardiovascular workouts to help the body adapt. 

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Jump lunges
The areas of interest here are the hamstring and quads. “Start in a lunge position where you step forward with the left foot and lower your body. Then jump straight up and while mid-air, switch the legs. Then softly land in a lunge with the right leg stepping forward. Complete 10 reps per leg,” Musinguzi shares.

Push press 
The target here are the shoulders which usually tire after a long day’s work as well as the quads. “With a dumbbell in both hands, palms facing inwards, hold the weights just below your chin. Then get into a mid-air squat with your feet flat on the ground. Press through the heels as you lift the weights above your head, straightening your body into a jump motion,” Tony Ssimbwa, a fitness trainer, shares, advising one to repeat this at least 10 times.

Jump squats
The targeted muscles in this exercise are the hamstrings and quads. “Push your hips down by bending your knees to lower yourself into a squat. Then, as one that is frightened, jump explosively and softly land, getting yourself back in the squatting position. Do this for 10 times,” Ssimbwa says.

Burpees 
This a full body work out although the chest and legs get more attention. “Lower yourself into a squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips backwards. Then shift your weight off your feet to the hands by putting your palms flat on the ground in front of you and pushing forward.

Push your legs back as though you were jumping and get into a plank position with a straight body and tight core. Thereafter, jump back with your feet landing just before your hands, then jump up with hands stretched upwards. Go through these motions for 10 repetitions, Musinguzi shares.

Side plank
This is a static core strengthening exercise that improves one’s balance and helps in preventing injuries. With your propped elbow on the ground and under your shoulder, Ssimbwa says, lie on the left side.

Place your right hand on your hip while your legs are elevated on a bench. Ensure that you are in a straight line from the shoulder to your feet so as to work the torso. As you do that, tighten your quad, abdominal and quad muscles. Hold this position for a minute before turning to your right side.

Making the most of your workout 
Rest: Wearing out your muscles happens with every workout. Therefore, there is need to allow them time to recover, the reason Musinguzi says having a rest day is important. 

Stretching: While it could work as a warm up exercise, Ssimbwa says stretching also helps the muscles recover after a sweat-breaking workout. 

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