Strengthening Your Immune System

As we learn more about Covid-19, more literature is pointing to the fact that obesity and poor health are the key risk factors for how severe conditions are if one is exposed to the virus.

One recent report suggested that a vaccine may not be effective if someone is obese. So if you have existing weight issues and your only strategy to fight Covid-19 for the long-term is waiting for a vaccine, you may want to start addressing your current exercise and nutrition plan.

Another report suggested that boosting immune system is a key strategy for treating those exposed to Covid-19.

Your approach to all of this should be to assume that you will get exposed to the corona virus at some point and to assure that your body is strong enough to fight it. So keep washing your hands, wearing a mask and keeping your physical distance AND……

…..follow these tips to boost your overall immune system:

Exercise is key

Workout aerobically 3-6 days each week for 20-60 minutes each session at various levels of intensity.  Walking, running, biking, swimming, rowing, stair-climbing, hiking, bootcamps, dancing will all do the trick. We shower everyday to clean the outside of our bodies – cardio exercise is like an internal shower! Try to sweat a bit everyday!

You will also want to condition your muscles with resistance training workouts for a minimum of 2-3 days per week. Strive for a minimum of one set of 8-12 reps of a variety of exercises for 20-60 minutes. You can also workout with a trainer or take a group strength class to meet this requirement.

Add in stretching and/or yoga to address flexibility and stress release. Make sure some of your workouts are outdoors for fresh air, sunshine and vitamin D, all important to the strength of your immune system.

Good nutrition is medicine

The more you can lean towards a plant-based diet, the better for your overall health. Every ‘diet’ that exists recommends more vegetables so if you can start there regardless of whether you eat meat or carbs or not, you will be on the right track.

Eat a balanced diet that is low in processed foods and high in fiber content. Each macro-nutrient (protein, carbs and fats) all play a critical role in the overall functioning of our body. Any diet that severely restricts any of these nutrients has consequences and is often not sustainable for the long-term.

With that said, each of us is different and some of us will respond better with more or less protein, more or less carbs, and more or less fats. The most common recommendations are 45-65% carbohydrate intake, 10-35% protein and 20-35% fat intake for overall health although more recent literature has suggested towards the higher range of protein and the lower range of carbs.

Last, the key to optimal health and maintaining your ideal body weight is not consuming more calories than you’re expending. If you are trying to lose weight, if you can provide a caloric deficit of about 500 calories per day that tends to be more sustainable. Do not severely restrict your caloric intake right now because it may reduce your ability to consume sufficient nutrients and may compromise your immune system. Slow and steady weight loss would be a smarter approach right now.


Commit to 100 ounces of water each day, Drink water before and with each meal and sip throughout the day. Human beings are 55-75% water and water provides the medium in which all the body’s chemical reactions take place. It is the most vital requirement for human life and overall health.

Sleep and reduce your stress to strengthen your immune system

Get enough sleep (7-8 hours per night). Sleep is when your body recovers and repairs and a lack of sleep has been associated with weight gain and can compromise your immune system. It is also critical to control and manage your stress levels. Stress has also been associated with weight gain, health ailments and a weak immune system. Focus on deep breathing, easy walks through your neighborhood and/or take a yoga class.


Increase your intake of products that reduce inflammation and boost your immune system including products such as turmeric, vitamin c, echinacea, apple cider vinegar, lemon, ginger, zinc, elderberry, and/or herbal teas

This information should be a great motivator to prioritizing your health and fitness. Remember that exercise and food is medicine! Your lifestyle is the number one factor that you can control that will strengthen your immune system and that will impact your ability to fight off any disease. You can’t control what’s going on right now but you can control your response and your actions to strengthen your ability to fight off any type of disease or sickness.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a complimentary initial in person or virtual personal training appointment to help get you started. Email us for more details.

We Are Open!

Northwest Personal Training is NOW OPEN! We are SO EXCITED to see you! For Private Training, you’ll have the option to continue doing virtual training, outdoor training or training at the studio. For Group Fitness classes, you will be able to continue doing virtual online classes (live or saved) and we are also going to host some outdoor programming.

We specific safety precautions that we have in place so please watch this video where I explain everything we are doing to keep you safe.

Here is a link to our Reopening Protocol in detail so you can review closely.



Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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