Lisa Chulich

Professional climber Lisa Chulich. (Rich Crowder)

Learn six things you can do each day to strengthen your immune system.

Like it or not, medical experts say that the majority of us have been or will be exposed to COVID-19—especially now with the highly contagious (but thankfully mild) Omicron variant going around. Having an optimally functioning immune system, then, is essential for fighting this virus.

Here are 6 tips for staying healthy and climbing strong through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Exercise daily, while maintaining appropriate social distance. Strive to get a muscle pump and breathe heavily for at least 30 minutes per day—it’s good for mind & body! A good goal to shoot for is  30 to 60 minutes of outdoor recreation per day (walking, running, hiking, etc.) and one hour of at-home strength training, bouldering, hangboarding, floor exercises (photo), and such.

2. Eat a nutritious diet. Consume fruits & vegetables rich in Vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc. Consider taking supplemental Vitamin D (1000 – 5000 IUs per day). Eat lean protein at every meal and consider using a low-calorie protein supplement. For muscle recovery and immune system strength, consume 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Drink lots of water, too!

3. Go outside for at least 1 hour per day. A daily dose of sunshine and fresh air is vital. Go for a walk/run every day…and let your thoughts wander to your future climbing and life goals!

4. Avoid overtraining. Too much intense exercise can weaken your immune system. Listen to T4C podcast #46 for comprehensive coverage of effective home training, if you prefer to avoid crowded climbing gyms.

5. Get adequate sleep. Allow 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night.

6. Keep stress levels low. Stop dwelling on things beyond your control. Unplug from fearful media. Help the needy. Remain positive, hopeful, and purposeful.

Above and beyond these natural immune-boosting steps, vaccination has been shown to be highly effective at reducing the severity of infection.

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