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Landbeyond_corona: Physical exercise and the immune system.

When the wind blows, some people build forts and some other people build windmills. We start by walking. Just walking. The corona virus or any virus does not affect only the elderly. It affects everyone who has a weak immune system, irrespective of age. Prevention is the best we can do but we often come to this realisation only afterwards. In Greek we say, «στερνή μου γνώση να σ’ είχα πρώτη», meaning “if only I had thought of this earlier.” Living a healthy life is even better and beyond the zero financial cost that it comes with, it contributes to our well-being. How can we achieve that? How can we protect our immune system even today? 

Exercise. Dedicate time to yourself. Exercise at home – if nothing else – is a very good way to take care of your body; unless you are sick, then you shouldn’t do anything. Cut down on stress, reflect on decisions you have taken, philosophize about life. In Greek we say, “Indeed, we have to reflect on how to move forward.” Drink in moderation. Maintain a balanced diet with fruit and vegetables. Today you have the chance to learn more about your diet – exploit it! Sleep well. Make sure you have got adequate rest. A good sleep will offer you euphoria and energy. You shouldn’t over or under do it. Young people (18-25 y/old): no more than 11h but no less than 6h. Middle-age people (26-64): no more than 10h but no less than 6h. Elderly (65 >): 7 to 8 hours. {Ref: National Sleep Foundation-USA}. 

That’s all you need to do in order to maintain a strong immune system. We have to start from the beginning and press the reset button. We have to start from what we can already do today. We start by the least possible exercise, walking. The daily wise service of our body. Humans are born to be hunters; they have been made to be moving. The evolving stage of the homo sapiens is not a car driver or a stoker. Humans come from homo erectus who learnt how to hunt their food, tamed fired, used wood to create their utensils and were gradually driven in changing the structure of the brain and to the increased ability to learn and communicate. That’s how we reached the land beyond, where the epicentre is knowledge. Beyond, the precedent or in a certain level bigger, what comes after knowledge and experience, the unknown that we are always trying to conquer. Certainties divide people, diversity unites them. “An unforgettable journey of 1000 kilometres (for a peaceful life) starts by one step”, says a wise man. He definitely knows something. And that’s how we come back to the practice of the hunter: walking, moving, running, living are the pillars of euphoria, creativity, innovation, generosity, peaceful coexistence, freedom. 

Between 30 to 60 minutes, a moderate or fast activity helps the immune system to keep away any kind of viruses. Systematic physical exercise has been proved to be very effective. If you are starting now, it is better to start by speed-walking or interchanging between walking and running. {Ref: Bringing long distances closer by Dimitris Tzefalis. Bestseller book). If, for any reason, you are not in your high spirits psychologically, it is better not to push yourself too far and engage in milder physical exercise. Moderate physical exercise for beginners for the maximum oxygen uptake refers to 45-60 minutes of walking three times per week {Ref: Woods, J.A., Keylock K.T., Lowder -2009, T. Zhu, W -2020}. Mild physical exercise for beginners is about 30 minutes three times per week. Corona virus does not hide in plain outdoors sight because of the sun. It seems that it is not transferred by sweat. Close contact and breathing practices (coughing, sneezing) are the main sources of the problem. There is no way to get sick or pick up a virus by any pathogenic organism if you are running in the cold, the specialists are advising {David Nieman, Health Professor at Appalachian State University, North Carolina}. The best choice is to get out and go for a run with a friend and enjoy the fresh air, if possible the fresh air around nature. And when you come back, you have to remember to wash your hands. For those of you who are running, it is not the right time to be training hard. Hiking is fine but you shouldn’t go down the Vikos Gorge or hike all the way up to Tymphi Mountain. Exhausting the glycogen stocks that your body has been storing will cause your immune system to function unpredictably so if you are infected by the virus, your immune system will be weakened. What is more, the physical or psychological stress that is caused by hard training increases the possibility of getting sick. So the bottom line is: don’t go into long walks or venture into walking adventures.

And where should we walk then? Walk around your block. With your head high. Maybe you will be surprised to observe that you had never seen the view at the end of the street, you had never observed the length of your own street. The same goes for life. Let’s not just stay in the literal sense of walking. Let’s not stay within the boundaries of the walking, scouting, hiking club either (walk & talk). Maybe it is not for us. Nor we need to go to the more artistic and creative side of walking and talking. We are walking to achieve what we promised we would, Walk the Talk. Let’s not stay within the verbal spectrum, let’s act in order to serve not just our survival but also our happiness. That is what is missing from life than life itself. “These boots are made for walking” {Ref: song by Nancy Sinatra}. Use them. 

No one will ever tell you that you are perfectly and a 100% safe. But even if someone does, then quoting Karl Popper “We have to search for freedom and not just security, if nothing else, because freedom is the only way to secure safety.” Walking offers one freedom, safety, optimism. “The situation requires optimism, let’s hold pessimism for easier times.” {Ref: Hervé}. 

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