Icy temperatures and less daylight are just some of the challenges we face in winter. To stay healthy during the cold season, it is therefore especially important to strengthen your immune system. Our following tips show you how easy it is to do something for your body’s resistance. Here is how to stay fit through the winter. 😊
- Tip No.1: Stay warm
- Tip No.2: Healthy diet
- Tip No.3: Outdoor exercise
- Tip No.4: Reduce stress
- Tip No.5: Get a good night’s sleep
- Conclusion: Strengthening your immune system in winter
Tip No.1: Stay warm
As children, our mothers used to tell us to dress warmly enough in winter. But how exactly does thick clothing help us to strengthen our immune system? If we wrap up warmly, our mucous membranes remain well supplied with blood and our immune system is in a better position to fight off viruses and bacteria. Cooling the body, on the other hand, has the exact opposite effect and weakens our resistance so that pathogens can enter the mucous membranes more easily. The result are cold symptoms such as a runny nose and an inflamed throat.
Tip No.2: Healthy diet
You can also strengthen your immune system through a healthy diet. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals with plenty of fresh seasonal vegetables, whole grains and winter fruits such as apples and pears provides your body with everything it needs to keep you fit through the cold days. Vitamin C is particularly effective in preventing colds. Although most people immediately associate this vitamin with citrus fruits, it is not only found in fruit. Vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli and spinach are also an easy way to meet your daily vitamin C requirements. Carotene-rich foods such as carrots also help to build up immune-boosting mucous membranes. However, stimulants such as cigarettes and alcohol should be avoided.
Tip No.3: Outdoor exercise
Couch potatoes have a hard time in winter, because too little exercise weakens our body’s resistance. If you want to strengthen your immune system, you should therefore stay active and swap the sofa at home for a brisk walk in the fresh air more often. 😉 Regular exercise not only boosts your cardiovascular system, but also stabilises your mood so that the winter blues has less chance of affecting you. Just 30 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise, such as cycling or walking, is enough to give your immune system a boost. If you like to exercise more, you should make sure that your urge to exercise does not turn into negative stress for your body. That would in turn be counterproductive for the immune system.
Tip No.4: Reduce stress
It should be common knowledge that constant stress is not good for our well-being. But in our modern, fast-paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress altogether. The solution to strengthen our immune system is therefore to reduce the existing stress. Successful stress management is essential not only for our physical health, but also for our mental health. After a hectic day, you should consciously schedule time for relaxation in the evening. This does not always have to mean meditation or a yoga session, although both are effective in helping you to block out negative impacts and find your own centre. Even small rituals like brewing a soothing herbal tea or taking a hot relaxing bath will help you to reduce stress. If you spend your evening in company of your loved ones, for example during a cosy movie night, you will surely recharge your inner battery twice as quickly. But even if you find yourself alone at home in times of social distancing, a video call with your best friend can quickly put a smile on your face and make you forget all the stress.
Tip No.5: Get a good night’s sleep
It sounds like a dream, but more sleep actually does a lot for your body’s resistance. Surveys show that you can strengthen your immune system with sufficient sleep and thus make your body fit against pathogens. For example, people who slept less than 7 hours were three times more likely to catch a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more. One possible explanation could be that sleep supports the work of certain defence cells, the so-called T-cells. These cells attach themselves to cells infected by pathogens and destroy them. But even a lack of sleep of three hours is enough to negatively influence the ability of our T-cells and to weaken our immune system. So, as is often the case, sleep is probably the best medicine for getting through the winter in good health!
Conclusion: Strengthening your immune system in winter
In winter, cold viruses threaten us more often than in summer. To strengthen our immune system and support the circulation of our mucous membranes, we should therefore always keep warm. A healthy diet with plenty of vitamins also helps us to significantly reduce the frequency of infections. If we also make sure to get enough exercise, reduce stress and get enough sleep, our bodies’ defences are well equipped to get us through the winter in good health.
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