Winter is a time for holiday parties, snow and making memories with loved ones, but also brings cold and flu season. Help keep yourself healthy this year with these tips:
When it’s cold and snowy outside, it’s understandable that the last thing you want to do is go to the gym. However, exercise may contribute to good general health. It improves circulation, which allows your immune system to do its job more efficiently. Plus, exercise produces feel-good hormones that can help ward off the winter blues. Staying active doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. Go sledding with your family or take your dog for a walk outside while admiring the holiday lights. When you find an activity you enjoy, you’re more likely to keep up that active schedule.
2. Get a massage
Sure, getting a massage feels great, but it has also proven to improve immune function. According to Prevention, massage may lower the stress hormone cortisol by 54 percent. Elevated stress levels can take a toll on your immune system and make you more susceptible to getting sick.
3. Make sleep a priority
The holiday season is a busy time for everyone, and that certainly has an impact on your sleep schedule. However, if you’re not getting your eight hours, your immune system has to work harder to ward off bacteria. Getting enough sleep allows your body to produce the flu-fighting antibodies that keep you healthy.
4. Stock up on hand sanitizer
When you’re not near a sink to wash your hands, it’s always helpful to have hand sanitizer with you to clean away bacteria. Look for hand sanitizers that have at least 60 percent alcohol to ward off stomach bugs.
5. Eat more fruits and vegetables
During the holiday season, there are lots of sweet treats available, from pumpkin pie and sugar cookies to cake and pudding. While it’s OK to indulge every so often, you should make sure your fruit and vegetable intake is high. Strive for five portions of fruits and veggies a day to maintain a healthy diet and strengthen your immune system. Try seasonal produce like carrots, sweet potatoes or parsnips.
As stated above, stress levels can prevent your immune system from effectively keeping you healthy. Therefore, do what you need to relax and de-stress, whether that’s taking a hot shower, reading your favorite book or watching a good movie.