Now that winter has officially arrived, we’re well in the midst of cold and flu season. From coughing colleagues to sneezing kids, it can be hard to escape its icy grip and stay in fighting form. But it is possible.
To make this cold season your healthiest ever, start by embracing these surprisingly simple winter wellness tips. Because, with 85 days until spring comes around, there’s still a long way to go!
Have a flu injection
Last year’s flu season was one of Australia’s worst in years, so experts are stressing the importance of protecting yourself with the flu jab this winter. Contrary to belief, the vaccination will not make you sick as it does not contain the live virus. You can have your flu injection at the pharmacy or your regular GP, and it is free for pregnant and older patients, and those considered more at risk.
Winter is not the time to turn into a couch potato, as tempting as it can be. Regular exercise will not only keep the comfort eating kgs under control, it will help you from succumbing to the winter blues, and support healthy immune function. One study out of the University of Wisconsin found there were significantly less sick days due to acute respiratory infection in those who engaged in moderate intensity exercise over an 8-week period than in a non-exercise control group. So, don’t let cold weather put an end to your workouts!
Book a fortnightly massage
It might seem indulgent, but regular massage could save you splashing out on cold and flu tablets. Not only does massage relieve tension, knots and muscle aches, it is known to help boost your immune system. So, book a regular rub down to keep the sniffles at bay!
Get plenty of sleep
Those cosy mornings make it harder to leap out of bed, so, if you can avoid it, don’t! Various studies show insufficient sleep suppresses the immune system, not to mention the impacts on cognitive function. But exactly how much shut eye should you be getting?
According to recent recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation (US), 7 to 9 hours sleep is advised for adults aged 26 to 64. So, snuggle in, switch off that tech at least an hour before bed, and try your best to meet your daily requirement.
Wash your hands
While you should obviously wash your hands year-round – after using the bathroom, catching public transport, before eating – to avoid the spread of illness-causing bacteria during winter, you should be even more vigilant. And for convenience when you’re out and about or travelling, consider keeping a hand sanitiser in your bag.
Green juices may be a great way to meet your vitamin and nutrient requirements, but they’re not as appealing in the cooler months. Hearty vegetable soups, especially home-made, are a warming replacement to nourish the body in winter. Pack yours with a rainbow of vegetables and add cold-fighting ingredients like garlic, ginger and turmeric. Yum!