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Winter has arrived with gusto, but how do we prepare our bodies to make sure we don’t spend the coming three months laid low with sniffles and illness.
The best way to stop the spread of germs is to wash your hands. We know to wash our hands after using the toilet and before meals, but washing every few hours, and after touching doors and rails can help. And if you have a child, encourage them to keep their hands out of their mouths.
Get the jab
The seasonal flu shot will provide you cover against the major strains of flu and is bulkbilled if you’re considered at risk (for example over 65, pregnant, or have a chronic illness). One small inconvenience can provide a whole lot of protection.
Getting motivated to head out for a walk or run when it is cold and dark is very hard, but the cooler temperature will make your body work harder to warm you up, so you can burn more calories on that early morning walk or run. If you’re still struggling, find an exercise partner to encourage you and if it’s too cold outside, go to the gym or try laps at an indoor pool.
A vital way to support your immune system through winter is to make sure you’re eating a healthy diet. For your body to respond to infection, it needs enough protein, so enjoy lean meat, fish and poultry.
Vitamins and minerals
Ensuring your body has sufficient iron, zinc and vitamin C is also key to a healthy immune system. The best way to boost your levels is through dietary intake. So look for dark, leafy greens and red and yellow vegetables, which are all high in antioxidants, before you reach for supplement.
Staying hydrated with at least eight glasses of water each day will help you beat the winter chills. And 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.
Making sure you get regular sleep is vital to staying healthy. When you are run down and aren’t well-rested you are more likely to get sick.
There are so many benefits to quitting smoking, but did you know smokers are more susceptible to upper respiratory infections that tend to strike in winter? Now’s a good time to quit and clear your airways.
Mould can trigger nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, respiratory infections and worsen asthma and allergic conditions. So move your spring clean forward to autumn.
Save your skin
Cold air, wind and heating will dry out your skin, so keep your face and body well moisturised.
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