As the winter draws in, cold and ‘flu season is truly upon us. Staying healthy during the winter months can seem like an impossible challenge, with members of the public sneezing and coughing as we all wrap our coats a little tighter around ourselves, scurrying to get from point A to B. However, with a few top tips and due care, keeping yourself healthy may not be as impossible as it seems.
Get regular exercise
Yes, it may seem counter-intuitive to suggest exercise when it’s cold outside, but it’s very important to keep your exercise regimen up during the winter months as it helps to support your immune system. Even something as simple as a brisk walk three times per week can give you enough of a boost to keep you healthy, even rising above other lifestyle factors – so get your coat on! Just don’t go overboard.
Stay healthy at the office
Staying healthy in an office environment can be a challenge at the best of times, but particularly during winter when many co-workers are coming down with a cold. Now is the time to boost your diet with foods that are high in vitamin C to help keep your immune system at its very best levels of defense. Easy office fruit such as oranges are a clear winner, as are kiwis, berries and papaya and their benefits are well documented for tired staff who might be feeling run down in the winter months.
If you’re having a tough time getting all your fruits and veggies a day, juicing them keeps a lot of the nutritious value while also giving yourself a yummy smoothie treat. It’s a great stress-busting snack!
While loading up on fruit and veggies, it’s important to remember the dangers of processed and sugary foods. You may feel like reaching for fast food at lunch or the vending machine on your break, but too much refined sugar can seriously disturb your immune system, leaving you less able to fight off infection. If you really want a sweet treat, go for naturally sweet fruits, or baked goods that are whole grain.
You might want to avoid those who are sniffling, but in general, being social with friends helps to strengthen your immune system by reducing your stress levels and keeping you smiling.
Spend time with your friends over dinner and drinks, or brave the outdoors to go to the cinema or visit a gallery. Whatever you do, spending time with friends and loved ones has a positive effect on your physical and mental state, so avoid spending too much time alone this winter.
Although you should be drinking water all year round, keeping yourself well hydrated during the winter months is crucial when it comes to staying healthy. Drinking between 6 to 8 glasses of water each day aids digestion and ensures your immune system is better able to cope with whatever the day throws at it.
If you really can’t stand plain water, drink herbal tea – it has the added benefit of antioxidants and can give your immune system an extra boost. Classics such as green tea, mint tea or berry are some of the best!
Hand sanitizer and frequent hand washing is your best friend this winter season! Colds and ‘flu are spread by the transfer of bacteria and are ingested, so keep your hands clean, particularly before eating food. Wet your hands and lather thoroughly with soap, and keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer on your person for whenever you need a quick clean.
Get regular sleep
A lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your immune system at the best of times, so winter is not the time to challenge it with an irregular schedule. Your body needs sleep to be able to fight infection, so make sure you get a proper night’s rest by avoiding TV and blue screens like your computer or phone just before bed, as such devices can affect your REM sleep. Relax and dim the lights about an hour before you go to bed to get your body ready for sleep, and try your best to keep to a regular sleep schedule to reap the rewards.