Have you seen signs for “winterizing” your car yet? Although the unseasonably warm weather might have helped you to forget, winter is coming (at least the snow and ice, but hopefully no fire or Night King). And just like winterizing your car, you need to winterize your body. Here are some tips to prepare you for the coldest season:
- Movement—Moving your body is as important as eating. Exercise boosts your immune system, and research has shown that people who exercise regularly have fewer colds. To help motivate you in the winter, find a winter activity that you enjoy. Downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and sledding count!
- Liquids—When the weather changes from warmer to cooler temperatures, we forget about drinking as much water. Winter is a perfect time to enjoy your favorite warm beverages like decaffeinated teas and hot water with lemon. The recommended guideline is to drink half your weight in ounces of water per day. In other words, a 150-pound man should drink 75 ounces of water per day, or a little more than nine eight-ounce glasses. And you should drink even more if you exercise regularly or live at a high altitude.
- Wash your hands—Being inside more means that you come into contact with more germs, on everything from door handles to remote controls. Be diligent about washing your hands before you eat, when you travel, in the office, and of course after you use the bathroom. Having a good handwashing game can save you from those winter colds. Proper method: Wet hands, apply soap thoroughly to both the front and back of hands, work up a good lather, and then rinse. The process should last 15 seconds.
- Vitamin D—Winter means less time outside, which means less sunlight and fewer opportunities for our bodies to make vitamin D. Get outside as much as you can – your body uses the cholesterol in your skin to produce vitamin D. Salmon, sardines, and eggs are also great sources of vitamin D.
- Vitamins C and E—Many of us think about vitamin C (a water soluble antioxidant) when we think about preventing winter colds. But we forget about Vitamin C’s twin, Vitamin E (a fat soluble antioxidant). Vitamin E is equally important in keeping the body healthy and fighting off illnesses. Here are some of the best sources of Vitamins E and C, in order of the highest percentage of recommended daily intake:
|Vitamin E||Vitamin C|
|Sunflower Seeds||Red & Yellow Peppers|
|Almonds||Kale & Dark Leafy Greens|
Remember: Your body is not a car—you can’t just take it to a shop and winterize it. Your body requires daily maintenance to keep it healthy throughout the year. As I like to say, don’t ask what your body can do for you; ask what you can do for your body.