Fall is around the corner and students will soon head back to school. This means flu season is nearly upon us.
Once you have the annual influenza shot, do you feel like you have 100 percent immunity to the flu virus? While the immunization is effective against most versions of the latest flu virus, there is an exercise regime that you can follow to further boost your antibody response.
Qigong (chee-kung) involves a series of exercises targeted at relaxing the mind, body and spirit.
Tai Chi (tye-chee) is the more popular type of Qigong. It is a holistic form of exercise, relaxing the mind, body and spirit, that blends martial arts with holistic healing. Tai chi improves strength, flexibility, cardiovascular function, pain, balance and the overall quality of life for the participant.
This form of exercise is done barefoot, wearing comfortable clothing with no equipment needed except an uncluttered 5-foot square area in a quiet location. Practicing Tai Chi three to seven days a week for 20-minute sessions will reap optimal benefits. The moves are slow and graceful. The participant must work on controlled breathing in order to maximize the total relaxation response.
Exercise and the Flu
New research done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reports that 20 weeks of Tai Chi can boost the positive immune response of the annual flu vaccine in adults. Antibody levels in the blood were checked at specific intervals after the test group received the flu shot. All recipients of the flu shot who also participated in Tai Chi had a greater antibody response than those who did not do Tai Chi. It is projected that the ancient Chinese exercise boosts the effectiveness of the influenza shot as much as 47 percent.
In addition to the flu shot boost, Tai Chi and Qigong are beneficial in relieving stress and helping to improve the quality of your sleep. The physical, mental and spiritual benefits of this ancient Chinese form of exercise have been proven over centuries.