Find it difficult to stay healthy in the winter? Luckily there are a few things we can do to help ourselves stay healthy and active throughout the season.
Coronavirus. Influenza. Strep throat. Cold.
These are the hallmark illnesses of the winter season and they are certainly making their rounds in the northern hemisphere, there’s no doubt about that. ‘Tis the season, right? So how do we keep ourselves healthy and active through winter?
At times it seems like we’re fighting an uphill battle, especially for those of us with young kids or who work in an office with sometimes inconsiderate coworkers (ain’t nobody got time for your germs!). Luckily there are a few things we can do to help ourselves stay healthy and active throughout the season.
Tips to Stay Healthy and Active Through Winter
1. Frequent hand washing is key
This is an undisputed, and often underutilized, method of keeping illness at bay. Washing your hands frequently with soap and warm running water is an easy way to keep yourself healthy. Unfortunately, a lot of people either don’t wash their hands at all or wash them improperly. To receive the full benefit of hand washing, the washer must suds and scrub their hands for 30 seconds and rinse thoroughly under warm, running water. The scrubbing part is key — get between the fingers and under fingernails while you’re sudsing up. Rinse thoroughly.
2. Channel Dracula
I learned this trick from my daughter when she was in preschool. If you must sneeze and don’t have a tissue or towel to catch the sneeze, make like Dracula and sneeze (or cough) into the crook of your arm. It’s an effective way to catch the germies before they go spraying into the air for all to inhale.
3. Eat your fruits and veggies!
Eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies is key to maintaining a healthy, balanced microbiome. Nature has done a wonderful job at providing the types of fruits and vegetables we need most at the right times of the year. You’ll notice an abundance of oranges and citrus fruits in the winter months. These are full of vitamin C which is very effective in boosting our immune systems. Eat up!
And while we’re on the topic of food, make sure you hydrate, too. There’s nothing better than flushing the germs out with fluids. Broth, chicken soup, water, decaffeinated tea — all great options.
4. Don’t hibernate.
Fight the urge to hibernate. It might feel better in the warm comfort of your own home but getting outside and active is beneficial in so many ways. First, an active body can fight off illness quicker and more effectively than an inactive one. Second, moving your body can make you feel better by the release of endorphins after exercise. And third, by choosing outdoor activities, you’re inadvertently limiting your time indoors with potential germs. Plus regular exercise is good for your heart and your mind. Instead of hibernating, opt outside!
5. Get some rest.
Equally important to exercise is rest. Making sure you get adequate rest is really important, especially when you feel like you may be coming down with something. Rest is when our body repairs and heals itself. It’s really important to give yourself time to relax, rejuvenate, and rest.
6. Add vitamins as support.
There is a time and place for vitamins and supplements. For me, that’s year round. I take some sort of vitamin or supplement all year long. But the time of year matters when it comes to my own regimen.
A word to the wise: “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.”
Vitamins and supplements aren’t always pure. And it’s hard to know exactly what’s in what.
Be careful which vitamins and supplements you choose. Be sure to read labels and make sure you’re getting an appropriate dose of whatever it is you’re adding to your regimen. For example, some of my vitamins have added vitamin B so when I take a separate B-complex, I make sure I’m not taking both at the same time. Vitamin C is another one — it’s in lots of “mixed” vitamins. Double check to make sure you’re not overdoing it. And if you have any questions or concerns, check with your doctor.
I have found over the years there are certain vitamins I need to take daily. These include vitamin D and iron. I should technically take a B-complex daily as well but for reasons listed above, I tend to space that one out a bit. I also use tart cherry and beetroot powder as well. They are both phenomenal anti-inflammatories. They’re great for post-workout but also just in general for achy joints and bones.
The vitamins and supplements I add in the winter include vitamin C, elderberry and zinc lozenges (on an as needed, limited basis), and echinacea. I don’t take any of these daily but I do increase the frequency if I start feeling under the weather.
Can you tell I love NOW Foods? Find out why!
And no, this is not a sponsored post by NOW Foods, although I’m sure it seems like it is! I just love their products and appreciate the time they take with customers and the transparency in their manufacturing processes.
I much prefer to get my vitamins and minerals from whole foods but when I need an extra boost for one reason or another, I appreciate having NOW Foods options available to me.
When it comes to winter illnesses, it’s tough to stay healthy 100% of the time. Let’s help each other by making an extra effort to wash our hands well, Dracula our sneeze, and stay home when we aren’t feeling well. Let’s stay as healthy as we can this season!
What’s one tip you have to stay healthy during the winter?
Are you a hibernator or an opt-outsider?