Frost on the windows isn’t the only thing you can expect to see when winter rolls around. It’s cold and flu season. To help you avoid feeling under the weather, here are five tips that can boost your energy and strengthen your immune system.
Exercise regularly. Bundle up, get outside and enjoy the weather! Remember when you were a kid and you played in the snow? Who says you can’t do that now? It’s amazing how much exercise you can get just trying to make your way through the snow. And if there isn’t any fluffy white stuff to play in, there are plenty of exercises you can do inside at home. From sit-ups to yoga, every little bit of exercise can help. But be sure to warm up by stretching before you start your exercise. It can take a little longer than usual for your joints to loosen up in cold weather. Exercise has been proven to help prevent depression and lift your mood if you’re feeling down. Exercise can also help your body fight off sickness. 1
Drink lots of water. It might not be hot outside, but your body still needs water. Remember to drink at least two liters of water every day. That’s a little more than half a gallon. To help you get enough, pick a large cup, fill it with ice water and take it with you wherever you go. You’ll be surprised how much water you can drink in a day when it’s sitting right next to you. It doesn’t take long to build a healthy habit of drinking water throughout the day if you use this handy tip. 2
Eat healthy foods. Fruits and veggies are always going to be at the top of the list of healthy things to eat. Keep your eyes peeled for winter vegetables when you’re at the market, including carrots, parsnips and turnips. Also, acorn squash, butternut squash and spaghetti squash are all in season during winter. As for winter fruits, enjoy apples, clementines, and grapefruits.
In addition to your fruits and vegetables, try adding supplements to your diet to improve your immune system to help fight off illness. Garlic, vitamin C, zinc, and grapefruit seed extract are all good choices to try. 3
Get extra sleep. The average person needs six to eight hours of sleep per night. And if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body has a harder time fighting off illness. In the winter, our bodies naturally want to sleep more, so give in! “It’s perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold,” says Jessica Alexander, spokesperson at the Sleep Council.4
Keep your hands clean. Don’t forget that wintertime is flu and cold season. So keep your hands clean, clean, clean! Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with you to use when you don’t have access to soap and water. When you do wash your hands, remember these five simple steps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: That’s wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry. In case you were wondering, the scrub part of washing your hands should last at least 20 seconds.5
Congratulations! Now you know what to do to keep your immune system up and your energy high when the winter temperatures get low.
Additional sources not cited or linked to above:
This material is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor.
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