It’s often said that the winter is the season when we’re most likely to suffer from ill-health and this is not just a myth. When the temperatures drop, the windows and doors at home and in workplaces around the country tend to remain firmly shut, creating the perfect conditions for viruses to thrive and spread.
With the shorter, colder days, many of us are also less physically active than we are during warmer months, swapping regular exercise for nights in the pub. Reduced motivation to stay fit and an increase in late nights and alcohol intake lays the foundations for a weakened immune system. This puts us at a greater risk of developing the sniffles and other more serious winter illnesses.
The bad news is there’s no cure for the common cold or many of the season’s other most persistent illnesses, but by developing some good habits and with a helping hand from nature, you can safeguard your immune system and keep happy and healthy this winter.
Here are our top tips to boost your winter health…
- Up your intake of fruit and veg
When it’s cold and dark and outside, the temptation can be to overindulge on comfort food, but this is one time of the year you need to eat more and fruit and veg, not less. We spend 60 percent of our waking hours at work, so upping your fruit intake in the office is an effective strategy. Companies like office fruit provider Fruitful Office can provide regular deliveries of fresh fruit to your workplace so you can snack on something healthy rather than contemplating the walk of shame to the vending machine.
- Add Omega 3 fatty acids
As well as eating plenty of fruit and veg, you should also try to increase the amount of Omega 3 in your diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are a natural anti-inflammatory and are incredibly effective at reducing joint pain and stiffness. Studies also show that Omega 3 helps to reduce the symptoms of depression, which more people are prone to during the winter months.
- Try new activities
If you don’t appreciate the beauty of a cold winter’s day then you’re definitely missing out. Just wrap up warm and get out there, whether you go for a winter walk along the beach or take the whole family ice-skating. Regular exercise not only helps to control your weight but it can also give your immune system a boost.
- Be protective of your pen!
Admittedly, that sounds like a slightly odd suggestion, but cold and flu germs can easily be passed by touching objects that are used by lots of different people, just like the humble pen. At work, make sure you use our own pen whenever you can and keep it out of the reach of your colleagues. It can also be handy in the bank and when signing for items being delivered to your home.
- Take time to rest and recover
Working out regularly is a great way to stay fit and healthy during the winter months, but if you don’t give your body time to recover then you’re only upping the likelihood that you’ll get sick. Overworked muscles can have the same impact on your busy as a lack of sleep, making it easier for viruses and gems to take over. The solution is to get plenty of rest after your workout and making sure you get at 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
- Stay hydrated
it’s just as important to stay hydrated in winter as it is in summer. Central heating can make the air hot and dry, causing your levels of hydration to fall, fast. When you spend long periods of time outside in the cold, the body’s thirst function also becomes diminished. That’s due to the constriction of blood vessels which keeps your body’s core warm. The result is that you don’t feel as thirsty as you should. So, make sure you drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel like you need to.
- Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser
Keeping your hands clean and germ-free is one of the best ways to stay healthy. An American study has shown that families who carry hand sanitiser with them and use it regularly had 59 percent fewer cases of stomach bugs than non-users. A single squirt followed by a 10-second hand rub is enough to eliminate nearly all germs.
What are your top tips for boosting your health this winter? Do you have any techniques you swear by? Please share your tips in the comments below…