Boosting your immune system

While our face-to-face support is temporarily suspended, FORCE Oncology Physiotherapist Louise Ballagher has advice on ways to keep your immune system strong during this Coronavirus/Covid19 outbreak.

Exercise regularly

Exercise, preferably something aerobic that gets the heart working harder, can improve the immune system. We can achieve this by walking outdoors, while always being mindful of social distancing at the moment. But there are plenty of activities at home that can do the same job. Gardening, cleaning and DIY can all get your heart rate up or you could try a home exercise programme.

There are plenty of useful videos on sites like YouTube so have a look at seated exercise programmes or home workouts and choose one to suit you.

Get adequate sleep

Sleep is important in recharging the immune system.

Sleep deprivation is one of the most potent ways of suppressing the immune system. Everybody has a different threshold so try not to worry about the exact amount of time you sleep. Think quality not quantity. There is demonstrable scientific evidence that the immune system may be compromised with lack of sleep or rest.

FORCE has produced a short film with tips to help improve your sleep. Click here to watch.


Another step to staying strong and healthy through the COVID-19 crisis is getting good nutrition through eating a balanced diet.

About 70 to 80 per cent of our immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract and is directly impacted by the food we eat and the microbes that thrive in our gut.

Try to minimise stress

It’s not easy to stay relaxed at this time but stress can also be bad for the immune system.

You can watch FORCE’s short films on Managing Anxiety and Managing Fatigue for guidance on how to minimise stress.

We also have recordings on our website – An Introduction to Mindfulness Practices and An Introduction to Relaxation and Anxiety Management – that you may find helpful.

There are other sites, like YouTube, where you will find films about mindfulness practice, yoga and relaxation.

The BBC News site also has useful guidance on Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health

Some things we cannot control but you can control what you eat, whether you exercise and how much you sleep.

Please call Louise on 01392 406151 for more information.