How to work on your own defenses: “Stress relief, nutrition and exercise helps” | Right away

In the COVID-19 approach, there are no measures to address our lifestyle, says The Arts and Lifestyle Association, while this is an opportunity to highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The association called on Foreign Minister Paul Blokhuis to also work for a healthy lifestyle. More than 1,800 Dutch relatives signed the letter.

Disclaimer: Young and healthy people can also get sick and die, says general practitioner Tamara de Weijer, president of the Association of Art and Lifestyle. However, the impact of a healthy lifestyle on our immune system is much greater than we think large-scale international research.

At the national press conferences, Mark Rutte and Hugo de Jonge explain to an audience of millions how we want to tackle the coronavirus, but no one tells you how much influence you have on your health. A missed opportunity, says De Weijer. “Hygiene measures are important, but healthy lifestyle choices have at least as much impact on your defense.”

De Weijer: “A healthy lifestyle can increase your resistance. This can be done by reducing low degree inflammation, chronic mild inflammation in the body. Since one’s own immune system already works, the “army” is already somewhat exhausted when you get infected with the coronavirus. As a result, you are more likely to become more seriously ill and/or die bigger.”

What exactly is a healthy lifestyle?

“In addition to the usual suspects such as healthy eating, not smoking and sleeping well, social connection and importance is important. The latter is not shaky, but means: What am I going to get out of bed for? Many people appreciate the extra time they now have with their family and do not want to return to all these hours of travel time per day. The same applies to social connection. The term skin hunger is very well received: we have taken people for granted and are now suffering from the lack of it.”

The usual suspects Then: How do I know which food is healthy and what should I leave?

“There are anti-inflammatory foods that support your defenses. So you have a direct influence on the self, which includes green vegetables, nuts, oily fish, fruit. There are also foods that work pro-inflammatory, so cause inflammation. These are the processed foods such as fries and croissants. On this list by Harvard Medical School You can check which foods inhibit inflammation.

“The most difficult advice of all: don’t drink alcohol.”

Tamara de Weyer, gp

How much exercise is enough for a healthy lifestyle?

“All movements count. The greatest gain is made when someone goes from inactive to moderate movement. Sport is even better. But hiking, cycling, climbing stairs, sucking, gardening, ironing: it all counts.”

What about stress?

“I advise patients to relax a few times a day and be unreachable. Often we even bring our phone to the toilet, and with every little bump our brain is distracted again. When we have many stressful moments in one day, it is difficult for our body to relax. You can see it by a chased breath, a restless feeling, a jaw that is closed. The adrenal glands create stress hormones and you are on high alert. So falling asleep is also difficult.”

“Changing your lifestyle has no side effects and you feel healthier, fitter, stronger and lighter: why not try?”

Tamara de Weyer, gp

How do you ensure good sleep?

“Set all the screens an hour before you go to bed and do something relaxing and numbing. Television is also exhausting. Read a book or walk around the house. Sleep is important for supporting your defense: it represents, digests your food, repairs the body.”

“And the most difficult advice of all: don’t drink alcohol. Especially not before bed, because although it can fall asleep easier, you will not sleep deeply. If you still want to drink, stick to a glass at dinner, not later.”

These are some tips.

“Changing everything at once doesn’t work. You can’t suddenly walk 5 kilometres three times a week, leave all the unhealthy food and completely plunge into a spartan lifestyle. If you want your goals to fail, you have to do it. We live in an obese world and resist the entire food supply and the comfort of transport is difficult. Learning new habits takes time. For example, no more eating pizza, that’s stressful for me. Take it step by step.”

“Changing your lifestyle has no side effects and you feel healthier, fitter, stronger and lighter: why not try?”