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Challenge: Boost Your Immunity


Whenever something's going around, do you catch it? Do you often feel tired and run-down? Sounds like it's time to give your immune system some lovin'. Challenge yourself to build your defenses against illness so you can sail through cold and flu season (and life!) in style. 

Day 01
0 /7 steps completed
  1. 1
    Sing in the shower
    Research shows singing is an effective immunity booster -- even if you're off-key.
  2. 2
    Eat a probiotic food at breakfast
    Yogurt, kefir and kombucha are all excellent sources of probiotics, which help keep your gut healthy. And gut health = immune health.
  3. 3
    Hug someone
    Find a willing friend or family member and give 'em a big hug. Human contact releases hormones that lower stress and bolster your immune system.
  4. 4
    Say no to stress
    Which tasks, obligations, or people stress you out most during the day? Make a list and pick one to avoid today.
  5. 5
    Meditate for 3 minutes before dinner
    Mindfulness meditation positively influences the immune system.
  6. 6
    LOL
    Laughter increases immune-cell levels, so watch your favorite sitcom or turn on a hilarious podcast this evening.
  7. 7
    Go to bed early
    Do you usually get eight hours? (Didn't think so.) Turn in early tonight -- early enough to get a full eight. Your immune system depends on it!

Prep Steps & Tips

  • Identify your stressors

    Stress is Public Enemy No. 1 when it comes to your immune system (the cortisol it produces suppresses your immune cells), so take an honest look at your typical stress level. On a scale from 1 to 10, how stressed have you been lately? Which people, situations and activities make your stress skyrocket? List them. Which calm you down? List them, too. Spend a few minutes thinking of ways you can avoid the former and embrace the latter. Jot down those ideas.

  • Scrutinize your sleep routine

    Sleep deprivation lowers your T-cell count, thereby reducing your body's ability to fight off pathogens. So if you haven't been getting your nightly eight hours, now's the time to ask yourself why -- and to think up ways you can improve your sleep hygiene. You may even want to take our Start A Healthy Sleep Routine challenge.

  • Hit the grocery store

    Nutrition plays a big role in bolstering the immune system, so stock up on immunity-boosting foods. Probiotics (yogurt, et al) and prebiotics (soluble fibers found in leeks, legumes, onion and garlic) maintain the health of the G.I. tract, which impacts the whole immune system. In addition to those good-for-you foods, buy some green veggies, too: They also improve your immune defense.

  • Book a massage

    According to research, getting a 45-minute massage lowers immunity-weakening cortisol levels, bolsters pathogen-fighting white blood cells and reduces inflammatory cytokines, which have been connected to autoimmune diseases. Schedule an appointment at your favorite spa.

  • Learn how to meditate

    Mindfulness meditation positively influences the immune system; in one study, participants who meditated for eight weeks had a stronger immune response to the flu shot. Don't know how to meditate? It's easy! Get started.

  • Find some company

    Social isolation weakens immunity and compromises the body's ability to fight infection. Social ties such as marriage, on the other hand, strengthen the immune system. Having sex, hugging and holding hands all cause our bodies to release cortisol-lowering oxytocin, and are therefore especially effective when it comes to immune-system improvement. So get your main squeeze to take this challenge with you. Failing that, enlist a close friend (ideally someone you can hug at will).

Whenever something's going around, do you catch it? Do you often feel tired and run-down? Sounds like it's time to give your immune system some lovin'. Challenge yourself to build your defenses against illness so you can sail through cold and flu season (and life!) in style. 

  • What's in it for you?
  • Fewer sick days
  • More energy
  • Improved well-being
  • A longer life (though we can't make any promises!)
Completed!
Awesome job. You just took a step toward being more active and living your life on the up! Enjoy the benefits and keep going!

Whenever something's going around, do you catch it? Do you often feel tired and run-down? Sounds like it's time to give your immune system some lovin'. Challenge yourself to build your defenses against illness so you can sail through cold and flu season (and life!) in style. 

  • What's in it for you?
  • Fewer sick days
  • More energy
  • Improved well-being
  • A longer life (though we can't make any promises!)