The winter season can be a difficult time for many people, particularly those who are trying to stay healthy. This aim is challenged by less daylight, plummeting temperatures, an increase in time spent breathing recirculated air indoors and often being forced into close proximity to those who are already sick.
Therefore, if you want to keep your holiday spirits high and your immune system strong, it is imperative to do everything you can to avoid getting sick, such as getting a portable sanitizer you can carry around, getting plenty of sleep and getting the right vitamins and minerals.
If you want to stay healthy this winter, here are seven tips for achieving that aim.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
As the old adage goes, you are what you eat.
Unfortunately, in the convenience-obsessed, dopamine-driven society we live in, many opt for foods high in fat, salt and sugar, instead of healthy whole foods. In fact, research has shown that an overwhelming 90 percent of U.S. adults don’t eat enough fruits and veggies.
Therefore, if you want to stay healthy this winter, ditch the fried foods and instead pick up some in-season vegetables like kale, carrots, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts.
If you are still craving something sweet, reach for some winter fruits like pears, oranges or apples.
2. Wash Your Hands Frequently
It should go without saying but, during the winter months, it is essential to wash your hands more often to help prevent the spread of germs. Therefore, it is a good idea to get into the habit of washing your hands with soap and water rather frequently.
While there is no set number by which you should abide, some times that you should head to the sink to wash up include:
- Before, during and after preparing food
- After eating food
- When you cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
- After using the bathroom
- After touching garbage
If you are looking for more information, the CDC has a complete guide on when and how to wash your hands.
3. Get Outdoors and Exercise
While the cold weather can make it tempting to spend all of your time indoors, it is essential to get outside and get some exercise. Not only will heading outdoors for a bike ride, hike or simple walk provide your body the movement it needs, but you are also getting a good dose of vitamin D, which is essential for maintaining good health.
To make sure that you are getting your heart rate up to an appropriate level and really benefiting from your time outside, it is wise to pick up an armband heart rate monitor. After all, if you are going to force yourself out into the cold, you’ll want to make it count.
4. Stay Hydrated
Since feeling warm is often a trigger for us to take a drink, it can be easy to get dehydrated during the winter. Therefore, it is important to keep a water bottle handy throughout the day. This is especially true if you are getting outside and exercising.
5. Get Plenty of Rest
The fact is that if you let yourself get too tired or run down, your immune system is going to have a tough time protecting you from infection or illness. Therefore, getting enough sleep is essential for staying healthy during the winter.
As for how much sleep is enough, this will vary depending on a variety of factors, including your age. For adults, seven or more hours is recommended.
6. Be Aware of Indoor Air Quality
Even if you get outside for some exercise, you are still likely to spend more time indoors during the winter. With the doors and windows constantly closed, your home and workplace are going to be less ventilated and are more likely to be circulating unwanted germs.
Therefore, it is wise to invest in a portable air purifier that can help to keep your breathing air a bit cleaner, thereby helping you to stay healthy throughout the winter — no matter where you are going.
7. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
While many folks enjoy imbibing from time to time, the fact is that alcohol can wreak havoc on a person’s energy levels, sleep mood, general well-being and long-term health prospects.
The fact is that not drinking at all is the healthiest option. However, if you are not inclined to go that route, simply reducing your drinking during the colder months will help you to stay healthier.
Fighting a Cold When It’s Cold
In addition to all the tips mentioned above, do your best to minimize stress during the winter, as this is a major culprit in making people more susceptible to the cold, flu and other illnesses.
That said, if you implement the information listed above, you stand a pretty good chance of making it through the winter without so much as a sniffle.