Keep cold & flu at bay this winter with our top tips for cold proofing your winter naturally.
Short and darker days make it tempting to skip a workout. However before you use this as an excuse to avoid your next gym session a study from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina showed that people who exercise at least five times a week had a 43 percent reduction in the amount of colds compared to those didn’t exercise as much. After exercising our bodies produce neutrophils which are important for fighting off colds. Physical activity is essential for overall health and well being, add 30 minutes of exercise a day whether that is doing your favourite fitness class, walk/running or swimming.
Get enough sleep
Studies show that people who get less than seven hours of sleep a night are more likely to get sick than those who get more than eight hours sleep. It can also affect how fast your body takes to recover from feeling unwell. Not having enough sleep can have an impact on your immune function. Long term sleep deprivation can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Make sure to wind down before bed and avoid any caffeine before bed as this can interfere with your quality of sleep. Exercising regularly can help improve sleep.
Chronic stress can cause the immune system to slow down and become less efficient. “Chronic stress produces a stress hormone called cortisol that kills or neutralises your immune cells.” says Professor Janet Lord, an immunologist from the University of Birmingham. Exercise in almost any form can help reduce stress and maintain immune function. Keeping active can boost your feel-good endorphins. A little bit of exercise can go along way to managing stress and can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.
Eating a well balanced diet can help you stay on track. Avoid quick diets or skipping meals as this can cause your body to pump out stress hormones which will cause your immune system to slow down. Make sure to eat enough protein, fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water to keep your immune system happy and healthy.
Having a good laugh will increase antibodies and boosts natural killer-cell activity while also reducing stress hormones. “Believe it or not, having a really hearty chuckle can help too. This is because laughing gets the diaphragm moving and this plays a vital part in moving blood around the body.” – Dr. Andrea Nelson, University of Leeds School of Healthcare. Laughter helps to increase circulation, stimulate digestion, lower blood pressure and aid muscle relaxation. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel good chemical. So why not bring your friend along to your next gym session or fitness class?