‘Tis the time for runny noses, fever and cough drops. Yes, Flu season is upon us and will extend through next April. Besides the flu shot and obsessively good hygiene habits, yoga may have a preventative effect for youngsters, who along with the elderly, are a more at-risk population.
“When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to pick up infections and get sick. One thing yoga does is reduce stress,’ says Dr. Marleen Meyers, Director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center Survivorship Program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center.
Furthermore, “Many of the poses used specifically make the immune system cells circulate more," says Dr. Meyers. "For example, opening your chest allows the sinus gland to put out more immune cells. Twists also help by letting the spleen, which filters bacteria, and the lymphnodes to get more activated. By stimulating the immune system, the body can better prevent and fight off infection.”
If your child practices yoga regularly and contracts the flu, he may need to cut back while he’s ill.
“He should listen to his body. If he’s got a 104 degree fever and feels crummy, it may not be the best time to do poses that require extra strength. However, if he’s sick, gentle stretches might feel wonderful, but don’t over-do it. Make sure he can sit and breathe comfortably. He shouldn't feel he has to return to his normal intensity. Minimal is better than doing nothing,” says Dr. Meyers.