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Defense Wins Championships: Ways to Keep Your Body’s Natural Defenses at a High Level.

We hear this saying all the time in amateur and professional sports; Defense wins championships. If you look at the NBA, NFL, NCAA Football, and NCAA Basketball world champions of the past ten years, you’ll see that an overwhelming majority of them have top ten ranked defenses, and the exceptions who don’t, have all-time great offenses.

Obviously we all can't run 40 yards in 4.5 seconds or nail a 30 foot pull-up contested jumpshot, but what we can do is take the necessary and recommended steps to build our own bodies natural defenses against illnesses and ailments.

Below are my Top 5 keys to strengthen your immune system:

  1. SLEEP.

Sleep is by far one of the most underrated aspects of a person’s health, due in large part to the misbelief that a person will be “just fine” while running on a few hours of sleep or that there is nothing they can do to improve their sleep quality. Good quality sleep is invaluable to the body and mind, playing a critical role in cognitive functions, concentration, performance, and productivity.

Inadequate sleep on the other hand, has been scientifically proven to impair the brain’s ability to function properly and efficiently. According to the National Sleep Foundation the recommended amount of sleep time for adults between the ages of 18-65 is 7 to 9 hours a night. Other things such as calming music, hot beverages before bedtime, stretching, and creating a relaxing ambiance and routine for yourself can also prove beneficial in the long run.

2. Managing Stress

I would bet that if you asked 100 people at random if stress is good or bad, at least ¾ of the participants would say that stress is bad. In reality, stress can prove to be both good and bad for one’s physical and mental health; let me explain why.

If you were to imagine a stress-free life, it may resemble lounging around, maybe poolside, or at a beach, sitting a fine drink as though there’s not a worry in the world. The only problem with this is that a majority of people cannot afford to live this way long term, rendering the notion unlikely. Now imagine a stressful life, unorganized at times, frantic, on-edge, and mentally unstable. This is a scenario I'm sure most people do not want to happen, but where am I going with this?

Think of stress as an indicator of moments of time and their respective levels of importance.

For example, a mechanic normally would not stress over a bird pooping on their car, with that being said that same mechanic would tend to stress more when dealing with important, high leverage clientele. The difference between the two is the latter, is more goal-oriented stress, which can prove to be valuable in establishing whether or not the business is worthy of stress, while the former is no more than a nuisance to most, not something to stress yourself out about. When managing stress it is definitely important to internalize what is important in your life and worth stressing over, while having a plan in place to manage the stress should it become overbearing.

Common methods of de-stressing include yoga, meditation, exercise, writing, or any activity that serves to calm the mind and body in order to resume working and producing at a high level.

Remember, all stress is not bad stress, while too much stress can be overwhelming and cause counter-productivity, being too relaxed can lead to a lack of motivation and mental lapses in both business and personal affairs. Take a break, maybe meditate, or find that activity that’ll keep some stress away for you.

3. Supplementing

Even if you completely redesign and restructure your diet to include adequate protein, healthy fats, whole vegetables, and less sugars, naturally there would still be different foods and tastes that simply won’t be included in the diet. According to 2016 article published by OnHealth, the average adult has between 2,000 and 4,000 taste buds, all unique to the individual.

Supplements allow for a person to get all the nutrients they might have been lacking in their regular, everyday diet. As people grow older, their bodies are much more likely to experience malnutrition due to the bodies inability to break down and process nutrients like they used to. Supplements are quick, simple, reliable solution to this issue. If you're not one-hundred percent certain as to what multi-vitamins and supplements would be most beneficial, ask your primary care doctor for advice.

4. Hydrating

I bet many of you have heard some version of the saying, “if your pee is yellow and has a smell, you’re not drinking enough water”. Well, it definitely has some merit to it; in a 2015 article titled “ The Importance of Staying Hydrated” by the Harvard Medical School Journal, it is stated that “Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells, flush bacteria from your bladder, and prevent constipation.”( Harvard Medical Journal).

In a 2016 survey administered by Nestle Waters, groups of 500 participants from various nations were questioned about their perceived knowledge of water, its benefits, and how much of it is to be consumed. On average, 9 out of every 10 participants drink some form of water every day, and just under 90 percent of all participants drink water every day, whether bottled or tap, because they feel it is perceived as healthy, natural, and refreshing.

Although the recommended amount of water to drink daily fluctuates from country to country, Overall over 9 out of every 10 participants believe that drinking water makes it somewhat easier to adopt healthier lifestyles, and 94 percent directly associate adequate levels of water consumption to good health. In short, if you know you do not drink enough water, start working up to around 7 to 10 cups a day, gradually.

5. Constructing the Right Diet

People all over the U.S., all over the world have been spoken to in some capacity about the importance of a well-balanced diet, and there’s absolutely no objection to that notion. A well- balanced diet allows the mind and body to receive all the necessary nutrients in order to support recovery and growth. It allows you to maintain a healthy body weight, which aids in being able to maintain higher levels of sustained energy, productivity, and output.

Whether your diet is all-inclusive of meats, veggies, fruits, carbs and moderate sweets, or more plant-based, practicing veganism or vegetarianism it is equally important to be well-educated on what foods work best with your health and fitness goals and beliefs. Below is a 2016 article published by the U.S. News and World Reports on the top 10 dietitians to follow on social media; give that link a click for more information.

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