5 Powerful Healthy Habits that will Equip You to Fight Illness

exercise as a way to stay healthy and feel less sick

I just survived a global pandemic. So did you. 

I also just survived an emergency appendectomy and had two weeks of recovering downtime to contemplate life, my work and the issues we are all facing in the world today. 

I like to think I live a healthy lifestyle. Vigorous exercise is a priority every day along with yoga and meditation. My eating habits consist of copious amounts of vegetables balanced with protein as my main food source. On rare occasions, I’ll include a sprinkle of carbs and treats as bonuses while enjoying life with friends and family. During recovery, as I lay in bed, I had a momentary depressive thought that all the hard work to stay healthy and fit was forever replaced with bloating and inertia.

However, when I emerged from my post OP coma and these fleeting sad thoughts, I realized that reality was, in fact, the opposite. Going into surgery fit and healthy actually SPED up my recovery. My body was able to handle what life threw at me in the form of illness. In fact, I believe that keeping yourself fit, healthy and strong actually gives you an advantage and an ability to handle what life throws at you. It’s almost as though your healthy body carries you through hard times.

I think that the same is true for many injuries and certainly for a global pandemic. Research has clearly shown that people who lead active and healthy lifestyles fair better in the face of disease than their sedentary, obese or ill counterparts. One WebMD article says, “it might be that moderate heart-pumping workouts spark a rise in the germ-fighting cells in your body.” Whatever the case may be, more exercise means fewer sick days. “People who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week have a 46% reduction in the number of days of illness compared with those who didn’t exercise,” according to David Nieman, DrPH, director of the Human Performance Lab at Appalachian State University. Not only does it keep you fit, but it can also keep you healthy during a global pandemic.

5 Healthy Habits to Adopt Right Now to Start Fall With a Healthy Edge

  1. Start your day with yoga and meditation: Try some of my fave moves to wake the body up. Even if you commit to just 15 or 20 minutes you’ll be investing in your mind and body.
  2. Count your daily steps: I’ve got inspiration to boost your step numbers daily. We all know how important it is to move-you’ll not only be doing your body a great service but you’ll feel better too!
  3. Add vegetables to every single meal: Here’s my favorite guide to eating more plants! Add veggies into your morning eggs and make sure to include a salad or a cooked veg with lunch and dinner.
  4. Drink more water than you think you need: Jazz up your water with some of my favorite infused water recipes and get into the habit of keeping a water bottle by your bed, in your car and your day bag!
  5. Invest in your relationships: Social connections make people happier, reduce your stress, help you cope during difficult times. Stay in touch with the Lighthouse App, launched by my son during the pandemic after realizing the importance of communication while we spent months apart.

What’s so cool is that nobody can guarantee that doing this will stave off covid or other illnesses. But, you will at least become closer to the strongest version of yourself and face disease with ease. Think of it as doing yourself a favor for your future self. If you could lessen the pain while being sick, you’ll be on the faster road to recovery.