If you're in the construction industry or working with construction equipment, chances are you're working hard every day. Your body goes through a lot every day you're on a project site. Some days are worse than others, but it adds up and affects your health and immune system. When your body is under stress, it weakens your immune system. When your immune system is weakened, you have a greater chance of getting sick. You can't stop working, but there are some lifestyle choices you can make to help your immune system stay strong year-round. Let's take a look at the most important ones you can start doing today.
Your body heals and regenerates while you sleep. If you're not sleeping well or enough, your body can't heal, and your immune system weakens. When you're sleeping, your body produces and distributes immune cells like cytokines – a protein that fights inflammation. It also produces T-cells, a white blood cell that regulates your immune response. Sleep deprivation also elevates your cortisol levels, another blow to your immune system.
Eat a Healthy Diet
The nutrients you get from your diet is essential for keeping your immune system strong. The amino acids in protein help build and maintain immune cells. A study showed that mice that ate a diet of only 2 percent protein were more severely impacted by the flu than mice that ate a recommended 18 percent protein diet. In addition to adequate levels of protein, fruits, and vegetables contain many of the micronutrients, your immune system needs to function optimally. Avoiding sugar, processed foods, and heavy carb loads is important to prevent inflammation.
Control Your Stress
Long term stress leads to chronically elevated levels of the hormone cortisol. The body relies on cortisol to prevent your immune system from responding during fight or flight situations. It allows your system to respond quickly when you need to. But when cortisol levels are constantly high, they will continue blocking your immune system from kicking into gear and doing its job to protect your body against viruses and bacteria. Meditation and regular exercise are two easy ways to keep your stress in check.
You might think after a long day working on a project, you got all the exercise you need. It's true, you probably got more than most people. But if you're operating a piece of equipment all day that's not really the best kind of exercise. Stretching and walking are low impact exercises that relieve stress and help with your joints and muscles. If you exercise in the sun even better. People that are more active tend to have lower incidences of both acute illness like infections and chronic ones, like cancer and type 2 diabetes.
When you're practicing these four healthy lifestyle choices, you will not only reduce your chances of getting sick, but your mood will be better. When you're healthy, you have more energy, and everything else in life is easier and more enjoyable. You can spend more quality time with friends and family, and have extra energy to advance your career. Be safe out there!