Stuffy heads, blocked noses, sneezes galore! Yep, it’s official, cold and flu season is upon us and it’s pulling no punches! Everywhere I look people are dropping like flies and tissues are piling up in record amounts! Whilst it’s almost impossible to completely avoid getting caught with a seasonal cold or flu virus, there are measures you can take to improve your immunity and at the very least, give yourself a fighting chance of recovering, faster.
1 // Exercise
It’s so important to keep the body strong and healthy so that it’s in the best possible shape ready to fight off any virus invasion! One of the best ways we can do that, is to quite simply, move more! Try one of our at home workouts or stretch sessions. Or if you’d prefer, just get outside and go for a brisk walk or jog in the fresh air! The important thing is to get the body moving, get the blood flowing and ensure proper movement of nutrients and waste products around the body. Adding in daily 30 minute walks around your neighborhood is also a great way to unplug, forget the stresses of the day and reconnect with family members. So what are you waiting for? Lace up those trainers and hit the pavement!
2 // Stress
Avoid it like the plague! This can be the hardest thing of all because it’s so intangible, we can’t see it and sometimes we don’t even realise it’s affecting us, until it’s too late! Countless studies have recognised the direct link between people who identify as being stressed and reduced immunity / increased risk of illness. The best thing I could suggest is to implement your own stress beating routine right away, even if you currently feel pretty calm and collected. That way, when moments of stress do come your way, you’ll breeze through them like a champ! 30 minutes of daily exercise is a great stress buster and the bonus is that you’ll be helping your mind and body! (I would recommend 30 minutes per day of anything you like, it could be the brisk walk mentioned above, it could be developing a daily yoga practice, whatever you feel leaves you in the best state of mind.) Adding just a few minutes of meditation into your daily routine can be the biggest and best weapon used to combat stress. I find meditating as soon as I wake up or right before I go to bed is the most effective and easiest to maintain. It can be hard to switch off alone but Grokker has some brilliant guided meditation videos (here, here & here), so grab your headphones and give them a go!
3 // Sleep
Focus on getting 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep every night and you’ll be doing your immunity (and sanity) a huge favour! It’s no secret that when you’re tired you’re more susceptible to picking up illnesses so make the smart choice and rather than watching one more episode of your favourite series, switch off and get to bed! Give your body a chance to recharge it’s natural defense mechanisms. Little tips to increase sleep quality include limiting stimulants such as tea and coffee to only 1 or 2 cups per day and never after 1pm. Meditation will also help you to sleep more soundly. Finally, limit all technology for an hour or so before you plan to sleep, dim the lights in the living room, perhaps light a scented candle and read a book, anything to calm your mind and increase production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
4 // Diet
I think we all know that eating a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables will help us stay healthy but when looking at immunity, not all foods are created equal and if you want to get the most bang for your buck then aim to consume the fruits and vegetables that are brightly coloured, for example berries, kale and spinach etc. Raw garlic is also commonly used to combat infection and bacteria due to it’s live ingredient, allicin. Optimal dose is 2 cloves per day, these can be taken with water, just like you would a vitamin.
5 // Hydration
Drink more. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of us aren’t drinking enough on a daily basis and when you take into account that we are 70% water, you realise just how important it is to keep our systems topped up to ensure they’re functioning optimally! There are plenty of ways to measure your intake and make sure you’re on track. A favourite of mine is to take 750ml (25 fl oz) sports bottle, fill it with the wet stuff and aim to finish it between waking and 10:00am, placing it beside your bed before you sleep means it can be the first thing you reach for. Refill the bottle and again aim to finish the whole thing, this time by 1pm. Another one by 5pm and a final bottle between 5pm and bed time.
Would love to know if you guys have any tips of your own to add to this list? Feel free to share with us in the comments, we love to hear from you!
Stay well and healthy everyone!