The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infection. When you have a strong immune system, you might still catch a bug, but your body is better able to fight it off quickly and efficiently.

If you’re looking to boost your immune system, here are a few healthy habits that help give you a stronger defence against illness:

Exercising regularly

Regular exercise is a key factor in overall health. People who are active are more likely to eat nutritious foods and maintain a healthy weight which both contribute to the proper functioning of your immune system. More specifically, exercise helps improve blood flow, which can aid white blood cells in fighting infection, it releases endorphins which helps boost your mood, which in turn alleviates stress and anxiety and improves overall feeling of wellness.

And don’t feel like you need to put yourself under pressure to do an intense workout for it to make an impact – go for a walk, do a Pilates class, swim a few lengths, or keep it gentle in the gym/doing an at home class. As long as you get your heart pumping a bit faster, it’s all good!

In fact, exercise is so important to maintaining physical and mental health (and, by extension, your immune system), UK Active has been pushing the government to re-classify gyms like David Lloyd Clubs as essential services and keep them open during COVID-19. With safety protocols in place, and a low prevalence of Covid in gyms and leisure centres, the benefits of going to a gym far outweigh the risks.

Eating a variety of whole foods

Fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins like beans, nuts and lentils are all packed full of nutrients your body needs to function. When it comes to your immune system, your gut health plays a huge roll, so, eating probiotic-rich foods such as yoghurt can help too.

At David Lloyd Clubs, we want you to have all the information you need to make healthy choices, so we provide calorie counts and allergen details on all the food we serve. Plus, we have plenty of healthy recipes to help inspire you to experiment in the kitchen and give you meal ideas. You can also read our blog on nutrition and immunity.

Taking a balanced approach   

Making healthy food choices is important, but if you’re working from home and spending more time inside, it’s only natural to find yourself snacking more often. Be kind to yourself for indulging once in a while. The occasional sweet treat can be good for your mood and give you something to look forward to, which in turn is good for your wellbeing. Don’t worry about being perfect all the time – enjoy that piece of cake!

Looking after yourself

Self-care comes in many shapes and sizes and looks different for everyone. Whether you enjoy getting a massage, stepping into the sauna or steam room after a workout, or relaxing in the whirlpool, the David Lloyd Spa has something for everyone to take a little well-deserved “me time”. Or perhaps, during lockdown, relaxing might be taking a bath, watching your favourite TV show, or reading a nice book. Whatever works for you.

Don’t forget to squeeze in some time for socialising and catching up with your friends. If you can’t see each other in person, you can still enjoy each other’s company via video chats and phone calls and just have some quality time with those closest to you – it can work wonders for your sense of wellbeing!

Finally, if you’re able to, getting quality sleep is a vital part of recovery. When you’re well-rested, you’ll be better equipped to make healthy choices and have the energy to get the exercise you need.   

Making sustainable changes

Making lifestyle changes might seem daunting, especially with everything else that’s going on, but just take things one step at a time with small habits like going for a walk after dinner or making a conscious effort to include a vegetable with every meal. No matter how small, every healthy habit is a step towards a stronger immune system.

Find out how a membership to David Lloyd Clubs can help support your immune system and overall wellness.