Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tips for Winter Health

During the holidays, it's easy to find yourself a little under the weather.  Between travel, bad weather, and spending time indoors in close contact with other people and recirculating air, your immune system is bound to let a cold or flu sneak in, no matter how much you try to prevent it.  But how you cope with your illness has a lot to do with how long it's going to stick around.

Vitamins: One of the most important things you can do to prevent getting sick in the first place is to take a daily multivitamin. Not only can it boost your immune system, but it can help your body fight off disease once you're sick.  What a lot of people do when they start feeling a sore throat coming on is to start pounding the orange juice.  While OJ may make your throat feel better as it's going down the pipes, studies have shown that the Vitamin C really isn't doing much for making the symptoms go away any quicker.  Most multivitamins contain at least 100% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C, and that is more than enough to help get you through a cold or flu.

Eating: It seems like everyone talks about ways to keep off extra holiday pounds.  (Which is stupid anyway... the holidays are meant to be enjoyed!)  If there's a big buffet dinner to attend, it may seem reasonable to eat small portions the rest of the day so you can go a little crazy later.  I'm guilty of it too, but actually it's a horrible way to maintain your weight and more importantly, can compromise your immune system.  Even when you have a looming dinner date with mom's turkey and mashed potatoes, it's better for staying healthy to eat substantial meals that keep you satisfied throughout the day than to cut back on other meals.  If you end up gaining a few holiday pounds, don't worry about it.  They will come off in no time as long as you make yourself accountable for them... that's why God invented January!

Exercise: While the treadmill may be the last place you want to be when you feel like you've been run over by a freight train, a little light exercise might actually help you feel better.  Studies have shown that physically active adults tend to get upper respiratory infections less often than more sedentary people, and the duration of the infection is less in those that are more active.  I'm an advocate of "sweating out" the toxins whenever I can.  I really do think it helps you get better quicker.

Cheers to good health this holiday season!

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