I’ve got a classic good news/bad news situation for you today.
The GOOD news is the omicron variant of the coronavirus does appear to be milder than Delta. And that’s especially true for folks who are vaccinated.
Individual cases can still be quite serious, of course. But it looks like the skyrocketing caseloads we’re seeing likely won’t lead to the same level of hospitalization and death we’ve had with past strains of the virus.
The BAD news? Well, there’s an old infection out there that’s still on the prowl. And it’s not getting milder. It’s as deadly as ever.
Before coronavirus, it was a top killer of America’s seniors. And it’s just as dangerous today, even if it’s not making headlines thanks to COVID.
I’m talking about pneumonia. A disease that isn’t back because the truth is it never left in the first place.
But I’ve got new hope for avoiding pneumonia. The latest research reveals an easy way to cut your odds of developing the infection and dying from it should you still get sick.
Reduce your risk for deadly pneumonia
Now I’m never going to be a nag when it comes to exercise. Believe me, I often dread the word myself.
And you certainly won’t ever catch me playing hamster on a treadmill.
But there is one kind of “exercise” that’s not so much of a pain to stick to. Because it’s not at all what comes to mind when you hear the word.
In a nutshell, it’s ANYTHING that causes you to move around more.
In other words, it can be a favorite hobby like gardening or dancing. Or some got-to-do-them-anyway chores like cleaning the garage or vacuuming the floors.
And, of course, something more along the lines of what we think of as exercise, such as a brisk walk or swimming laps (my favorite), will do the trick too.
Just find something every day – even if it’s a different task each time – that gets you on your feet and moving around for more than a couple of minutes.
That’s it. That’s your exercise. And THAT’S the key to protection from pneumonia.
It turns out activity is a TERRIFIC immune-booster. The new study finds it can cut your odds of any form of pneumonia by between 18 and 31 percent and death from pneumonia by 36 percent.
Get even MORE protection by doing THIS
The study didn’t nail down which exercise works best or for how long. But it did offer a BIG clue, and it’s just what I’ve been saying about “exercise.”
The research estimates you can get protection from pneumonia, infection, and death with any daily activity that’s equal to about a 30-minute walk.
You can handle that, right?
Combine that daily movement with decent sleep every night for an even bigger edge. Because rest is another critical element for building a tough-as-nails immune system, so your body can better fight colds, flu, pneumonia, and more.
Plus, make sure you maintain sufficient levels of two vital immune-supporting nutrients:
- vitamin D
A study on mice found that zinc can help kill off the Streptococcus pneumoniae that’s behind some of the worst pneumonia cases. And rodents with low levels of the mineral died off THREE TIMES faster.
In fact, a landmark 2010 human study found the correct zinc levels could cut the risk of infection in half.
And proper vitamin D levels have been proven time and again to be linked to lower odds of all kinds of infections, including cold, flu, and pneumonia. But for pneumonia, in particular, studies show low D levels can increase your risk for infection, severe infection, and worse outcomes.
You can get zinc from the diet (such as red meat and shellfish) and in your daily multivitamin. Plus, your doctor can order a blood test if you suspect your zinc levels are still low and you want to try a supplement.
For vitamin D, it’s almost always safe to assume you need a supplement because nearly everyone does. Many older Americans need 2,000-5,000 IU per day. Your doc can advise you on what amount is best for you.