Crank your Spotify
Another reason to blast your best Britney/Beyoncé mix? Listening to upbeat dance music for just 50 minutes can instantly boost your levels of a protective antibody that helps destroy bacteria and viruses. Bonus: It also lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which compromises immune function.
Make like a pretzel
Not only will time on the yoga mat help you achieve balance, but it’ll do the same for your immunity. Washington State University researchers found that breast cancer survivors who practiced Iyengar—a specific form of yoga that emphasizes precise alignment—three times a week for eight weeks displayed lower levels of a protein that gets triggered in response to stress. Looking for a more low-key style? Give hatha yoga and rhythmic breathing a whirl. University of Texas scientists found it increases levels of disease-fighting antioxidants.
Schedule face time (not FaceTime) with friends
Remember those folks you used to have brunch with on the reg? The ones who populate your social news feed with hilarious videos and lists? It’s time to bring the band back together in real life. People with a strong social support network offline tend to live longer than those who are more withdrawn, and a study of first-year med students at the Ohio State University could give a clue as to why: Those who scored highest on tests measuring loneliness had fewer bacteria- and virus-whupping NK cells than their connected peers.
Turns out your YouTube animal-bloopers marathon is more than just an afternoon distraction: aside from relieving tension, a good laugh—or the anticipation of one—can increase the number and functionality of NK cells, other T cells and antibodies, as per research out of Loma Linda University in California. Your boss can’t argue with that, right? Right.
Put your back into it
Tucked just behind your breastplate is your thymus, a pint-size gland where your T cells grow and mature. It basically captains your whole central nervous system, and if it gets overworked, you’re more likely to experience recurring bacterial or viral infections, allergies and fatigue. James Forleo, D.C., author of Health Is Simple, Disease Is Complicated, recommends a chiropractic adjustment, which research suggests can help prevent immunological imbalance caused by misalignments in the spine.