Winter is that time of the year when dry skin irritates you and bouts of flu keep you in bed, ruining your vacation plans. During the cold season, resistance and immunity levels are low, making one vulnerable to infections, which makes it necessary to protect yourself from the cold weather and stay healthy throughout the season.
Here are 10 effective ways to guard against illnesses and keep yourself happy, healthy, and glowing during winter:
Physical activity is essential for a healthy lifestyle and improves immune function. Weight gain is a common problem in winter. The harsh weather can make outdoor exercise difficult. Increase indoor activities such as cardio exercise, Zumba, skipping rope, and yoga to stay active, and fit and to reduce mental stress, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Regular activity reduces the chances of weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and strokes.
2). Hydrate yourself:
Hydration means replenishing the body’s water levels. Hydration is necessary for various body functions, including temperature regulation, waste elimination, maintaining skin moisture, and joint lubrication. The humidity in the air during winter is low, resulting in dry air, which can dehydrate the body; home heating can also cause the air in our homes to become dry, increasing the chances of dehydration.
Stay hydrated in winter because it keeps your body temperature stable. Lack of fluid in the body can cause the core temperature to drop to dangerous levels. Low body temperature can dull skin and lower immunity- staying hydrated helps our immune system fight colds and flu and gives skin a natural glow. Experts recommend drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. Other liquids one can take to stay hydrated include green tea, coconut water, infused fruit water, lemon tea, and herbal tea.
The skin requires extra care and nourishment in winter. Cold air steals moisture from the skin, causing dryness, itchiness, and irritability. Follow a skincare routine that includes cleaning, toning, and moisturising. Clean the face with a mild face wash, tone it with rose water and moisturise it with cream or moisturiser to lock the moisture in the skin.
4). Healthy diet:
Individuals with low immunity are more prone to colds and flu in winter. Eating a balanced diet is essential for boosting immunity. Have pulses, legumes, whole grains, lean meat, poultry, fish, nuts and seeds, spices and herbs, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Take foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits) since they strengthen our immune system and keep the body healthy. Foods that keep the body warm in winter include corn, pearl millet, jaggery, eggs, mustard leaves, and herbs.
Sleep plays an essential role in recovery. Sufficient sleep helps maintain the immune system, eliminates the stress hormone cortisol, and burns calories. Sleep for 7-8 hours every night to keep the heart and immune system healthy, prevent weight gain, improve memory, reduce anxiety and stress, remain happy, and enhance exercise performance. Sleep is a non-negotiable component of good health, which helps our brain and body to function well.
6). Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is essential for bone health and immunity. During winter, it may not be possible to get adequate sun exposure due to multiple layers of clothing. Office goers stay indoors longer, which can lead to vitamin D deficiency, causing health problems such as bone pain or back discomfort, joint pain, lethargy, tiredness, delayed wound healing, hair fall, frequent infections, muscle pain, and anxiety. Have a vitamin D-rich diet in winter, get enough sun exposure, and take supplements if you have a vitamin D deficiency. Foods rich in vitamin D include salmon and sardine fish, eggs, and mushrooms.
7). Keep the heart healthy:
Winter can be more severe for heart patients. The cold temperature causes blood vessels to contract, raising blood pressure, putting pressure on the heart, and increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Health problems such as asthma, flu, sore throat, and painful joints are also more prevalent in cold weather. A preventive health checkup is the best way to avoid winter illnesses and maintain good health even in cold weather. Schedule regular health checkups and monitor blood pressure and heart health.
8). Wear warm clothes:
Cold weather causes the body to release heat more quickly, increasing our susceptibility to illnesses and hypothermia. Wear woollen clothes in winter since they lock the heat. Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics since they can cause skin rash and are unable to keep the body warm. Warm clothes can also help regulate body temperature.
Bacteria and viruses can thrive in low temperatures, making it essential to keep oneself and one’s surroundings clean. Bacteria and viruses can cause several health problems, including the common cold, cough, laryngitis, and pharyngitis. Washing hands frequently is the key to staying healthy. A clean and aerated room helps keep common indoor pollutants like dust, animal fur or hair, and mould at bay, reducing chances of asthma, allergies, colds, and cough.
10). Avoid smoking:
Smoking is dangerous in any weather but is especially harmful in winter- cold air and smog harm the lungs, and smoking worsens it, causing swelling and narrowing of the lung airways, resulting in shortness of breath. Passive and active smokers are more likely than healthy people to contract colds, flu, and other viral infections.