Professionals Stirling Clark
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Winter can be a trying time both mentally and physically. The days are darker, colder and shorter and our bodies become more susceptible to all kinds of winter nasties like cold and flu. While it sounds tempting just to stay inside and hide from it all, being proactive about your health and wellbeing will help ensure that you make it through the cooler months cold and flu-free, and in tip-top shape to enjoy the summer. Here are body+soul’s tips for supercharging your winter wellness.
1. Wash hands
Sounds simple but it’s the number one way to stop the spread of germs. Experts recommend washing hands every few hours and in particular after using the toilet and before meals. Give them a wash after touching someone else’s phone or keyboard at work.
2. Get vaccinated
The seasonal flu jab provides 12 months of cover against the major strains of flu including the 2009 pandemic swine flu. If you’re considered at risk (for example over 65, pregnant, or have a chronic illness), the government picks up the tab.
3. Keep exercising
It’s hard to get motivated when it’s cold and dark, but your body has to work overtime to get warm, so you can burn more kilojoules on that early morning walk or run. Find an exercise partner to keep you motivated and if it’s too cold outside, go to the gym or do laps at an indoor pool.
4. Eat well
Keep your immune system in shape by making sure you’re eating a healthy diet. For your body to be able to respond to infection, it needs to have enough protein, so enjoy lean meat, fish and poultry.
5. Dose up on vitamins and minerals
Iron, zinc and vitamin C are also key to a healthy immune system. But before popping supplements, boost your dietary intake of these substances. Look for dark, leafy greens and red and yellow vegetables, which are all high in antioxidants.
6. Stay hydrated
Drink at least eight glasses of water each day. If cold water is unappealing when the mercury dips, try boiled water with a slice of lemon. The moisture will also help make mucous membranes, including those in your sinuses, more resistant to bacteria.
7. Rest up
Regular sleep is vital to staying healthy. Don’t let yourself get run down. Those who aren’t well rested are more likely to get sick.
8. Quit smoking
Smokers are far more susceptible to upper respiratory infections, which tend to strike in winter. Even if you’re a social smoker, now’s a good time to quit and clear your airways.
9. Clean up winter mould
Mould can trigger nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, respiratory infections and worsen asthma and allergic conditions. So move your spring clean forward to autumn.
10. Save your skin
Cold air, wind and heating will dry out your skin, so keep your face and body well moisturised.