This time of year, and as the winter months are on the way, we are especially susceptible to exposure to flu and colds.  So, how do you keep the flu at bay?  With a balance of healthy habits along with your regular dose of Pilates!  Take a look below for the tips contributed by Elizabeth Prebish, RD, LDN, plus I added a fun video link or two for you to check out!  But first – why Pilates for flu prevention?

During World War I, Joseph Pilates was held in an internment camp in England caring for sick and injured soldiers. Using the hospital beds, and simple equipment available, he began utilizing spring resistance to help those bed-ridden to maintain muscle tone (the spark that would later inspire the development of studio equipment such as the reformer). He taught the patients his method of exercise as a means of recuperation.  Little did they know what an advantage that would turn out to be:  Late in 1918, a deadly flu pandemic struck over 50 million people worldwide. Yet, none of the soldiers who were trained by Joseph Pilates died in that tragic event.  How could this be?

We already know the health benefits of exercising regularly include reducing your risk of major illnesses.  But one reason I think Pilates may have worked so well as an immune-booster for those soldiers is because of the overall attention it has as a system to proper alignment.  In our recent workshop on Fascia we talked about the important fact that every part of the body needs its proper space to function for optimal health.  The focus that Pilates gives to core strength addresses stability and flexibility of the spinal column.  Pilates also develops greater breath awareness for better oxygenation of the blood, and can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy levels.

Poor alignment of the spine compromises the central nervous system and our internal organs – contributing to a weakened immune system.  What are the Basics of Good Posture?  Take less than 3 minutes to find out.

Balanced with these tips below creates a formula for protecting your well-being and overall health.

1. Eat your fruits and veggies.  Women should have 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day while men should have 9-11 servings each day of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain crucial vitamins and minerals to help fight off unwanted germs leading to colds and the flu. Remember that a serving of fruit and vegetables is roughly the size of your fist.  The number of servings listed may seem like a lot but it is easier than you think!

Why so many servings?  Fruits and veggie help fill the Carb portion – take a look at that section in this Calorie info graphic.

2. Take a Vitamin D supplement. Taking approximately 1000 IUs of vitamin D has been found to be as effective as taking the flu shot.

3. Get your recommended 8 hours of sleep. Sleep allows your immune system to work at its best.

Sleep plays an essential role in memory, learning, problem-solving and creativity.  If you have some extra time, check out this in depth video: Why does my brain sleep? (Running time 1:16)

4. Drink warm lemon water in place of coffee each morning. When we are stressed out, vitamin C is the first thing to be depleted, putting us at increased risk to get sick!

5. Inflammation = Reduced Immune System function.  Reduce or eliminate foods that create inflammation, such as processed foods, including processed meat and milk products.

See you in the studio for your next immune boosting workout!

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