It's still beautiful outside, but beware - as the weather starts to cool, the common cold usually picks up steam. The viruses that cause the common cold are easier to spread in cold, dry air. On average, we will take 10 sick days this year to care for personal health, and another 4 to care for family members. Wouldn't it be nice to avoid the sneezing, headaches, and general misery that comes with being sick?
Among its many benefits, regular yoga practice boosts our immune health! Yoga helps lower the stress hormones that weaken our immune systems and allow us to get sick. One study compared two groups of med students during the always stressful exam time -- one that did yoga 35 minutes daily for 12 weeks and one that did not. At the end they measured heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and cortisol levels and found that immune functioning among the yoga practicing group was significantly better than the control group. "The authors conclude that yoga has a significant effect in ameliorating the autonomic, endocrine, and psychological changes brought about by the examination stress."
In another study, researchers looked at how the body responded to being injected with the flu vaccine among those who did an 8-week mindfulness program and those who didn't. The mindfulness group produced significantly more antibodies than the control group.
We've still got time to steel ourselves for the winter cold season and build up our immune systems. Get started this week!