Get Started
Get Started

Health & Exercise Forum


, , , ,
Jan 12, 2022


Every January, people make numerous resolutions related to health and wellness such as eating less and exercising more. As we enter our second new year living (or dying) with the COVID virus, it may be that the best health and wellness resolution is to GET FULLY VACCINATED!

The Omicron variant

The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is spreading throughout the United States like a wildfire. Consequently, a critically important New Year’s resolution is take action and seek the best protection possible. First and foremost, getting fully vaccinated offers the best protection considering the fact that the efficacy of the vaccination to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death is well-documented. Once vaccinated, taking care of your health and wellness is also important. The human body is designed to defend against some (but not all) foreign bodies such as germs, bacteria, and viruses. A healthy immune system may foster a speedier recovery from illness. While you may not be able to improve an otherwise healthy immune system, you can take steps to maintain its health and integrity.

A Healthy Immune System

A healthy immune system protects us by creating a barrier that stops invaders or antigens, from entering the body. When an unwelcome invader slips through the barricade, the immune system responds by producing white blood cells and other chemicals and proteins that attack the foreign substances.


  2. Don’t Smoke – it is obvious why this tip is critically important
  3. Eat a Mediterranean Diet – high in fruits and vegetables, fish/seafood, nuts, seeds, legumes, extra virgin olive oil and minimal amounts of red meat and Drink Plenty of Water … and drink alcohol in moderation
  4. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight – body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 is healthy. To calculate your BMI:
  5. Get Adequate Sleep – 8 hours is a good goal but if not possible, supplement with a daytime nap
  6. Practice Good Hygiene – Avoid infection by washing hands often and thoroughly. Flossing and brushing your teeth is also important.
  7. Prepare Foods Properly - clean meat/fish cutting surfaces and cook food thoroughly
  8. Limit stress and Be Positive - make time to reflect and meditate and, when possible, avoid people who “suck the oxygen out of the room!” YouTube “Progressive Muscle Relaxation” for easy to use relaxation techniques
  9. Be Active – physically and mentally – keep your body and mind moving and when possible spend time outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of NEPA
  10. Exercise – BUT DO NOT OVER EXERCISE! While exercise is an essential part of a healthy immune system, over exercise can weaken your immune system. In fact, many marathoners report a mild fever and flu-like symptoms after running the 26.2 mile race. 

Maintain a Healthy Immune System

To maintain a healthy immune system, physical activity is one of the most important factors in improving a lifestyle in a positive way. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days per week can greatly contribute to longevity. Most experts agree that moderation is important. If you overindulge in exercise you will be at greater risk for musculoskeletal injuries and may weaken your immune system. This is especially true for those who are newcomers. The goal is to gradually work into a fitness program and maintain it for life. 

Researchers have found that the benefits of regular physical activity are numerous. Some of the more important benefits are:

  • Loss or Maintained Body Weight
  • Reduces LDL /Raises HDL Cholesterol
  • Improves Circulation and Blood Pressure
  • Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
  • Prevents Bone Loss
  • Reduces Stress/Muscle Tension
  • Lowers Risk of Depression
  • Improves Sleep Pattern
  • Improves Strength and Flexibility
  • Improves Balance/Reduces Risk of Falls
  • Improves/Maintains Immune System
  • Improves Pain Threshold

Sources: WebMD;

Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body. Keep moving, eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and live long and well!

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.

For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit: