Immunity Building in Slow Motion

Easterine Kire

Building up your immune system is always a plus. One is via food, the other is via something we have all given up long ago. Exercise. 

Let us rethink exercise. It is good for us, very good. It is doable in the course of our busy lives which are now not very busy at all. The pandemic makes us rethink many old ways of thinking about things. Among the Tenyimia, one way of showing that we care for our elderly is stopping them going to the fields, prohibiting any outdoor work, and insisting that they should rest. All this was done in the belief that a sedentary life would prolong their lives. Many younger members of families complain that their elderly parent still wants to work in the garden, they still want to fix things around the house, etc. That mindset did not recognise that the human body is made for motion. If it stops for days on end, it will sooner or later, stop functioning. Movement is the best thing you can do with your body. Not only does it keep you limber, it can also definitely up your immunity. Remember what happens to people who are condemned to lie in bed all day due to illness? Their muscles atrophy until they cannot use them anymore; their immune system plummets and the feeblest cold can fell them. Not being dramatic, but that is how we are made.

The body adapts. It adapts to getting up at 5 am and going for a brisk walk. It also adapts to spending all day in front of the television set and eating popcorn and chips. Our elasticized stomachs adapt to more junk food. The flesh loves being a couch potato. It complains when the spirit tries to do anything uplifting for itself. 

But because the body adapts, it can adapt to a gentle regimen of push-ups, sit-ups and skipping. Yes, I said skipping, it was not a typo. My 70-something pastor inspires me to try skipping as he is a prime example of fitness. It’s a bit like a return to childhood and there are stores that still sell skipping rope. You get them at the antique stores and also at the sports shops. Skipping never did go out of style. The trick to skipping is to keep it manageable. Keep it under 50 or 60, and slowly work your way up to a hundred and stay there for the next six months. If your body is not used to the pounding that it will receive from skipping, it will have something to say about it. You can listen with half an ear. Ligaments will complain, of course they will. But give it a few days of limited skipping and then they will shut up. Then there are always knee exercises to help the knee that will snitch on you, by telling the doctor it was football in your youth and skipping in your older days, that damaged it. Stuff and nonsense. It was most likely lack of the right kind of exercise that did it in.

If you can afford it, swimming is the best exercise. In a way, the water does half the work and you try to do the rest. And you don’t even know how hard you have worked until you feel a bit of the exhaustion in the evening hours. But we are land lubbers so swimming may not be the thing for us. Ah well, there is always walking. Start with 2-3 kms if you have not been doing this in the past years. Drive out of town, find someplace quiet and walk up and down in a particular area. You will feel lighter and your leg muscles will get stronger as the days go by. There is no need for alarm if your muscles go on strike for the next two days. Pigs also do that when you change their diet from iskus to bitter lao. But remember, our parents always told us bitter vegetables were good for us, cleans the blood and skin etc.

Exercise has a price tag on it. No, not the price of gym shoes and track pants. But this is a reverse price tag. A fit body is more able to fight infection than its opposite. 

As for food, nothing can beat Naga food for developing immunity. Except for Pork. Best to reduce it to a tenth of the amount we like to consume. If the PM’s people think they can resist the virus with cow dung, we are more than well prepared with axone! Feel free to use your imagination as to how to apply it. 

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