6 ways to stay healthy this winter

Besides drinking more water, find out 5 other ways you can keep your immune system healthy and strong this winter.

For many, winter is synonymous with catching the last bug. A study published in December 2022 suggests that one reason is that colder temperatures weaken the body’s ability to fight viruses once they enter the nasal passages. (1) Spending a lot of time indoors also increases your exposure to sick people, allowing viruses to spread more easily from person to person.

But this doesn’t mean you have to just accept being sick every time the weather changes. There are actually several actions you can take that can help keep you healthy and your immune system strong during the colder months. Here are some to think about starting today.

Tip 1: Develop good hygiene practices

Realistically, you want to practice good hygiene practices year-round. But taking steps to remember your hygiene can be even more helpful in the winter months, stopping the spread of bacteria or viruses.

Practices to incorporate into your daily life include:

Washing your hands often is one way to stay healthy this winter.

  • wash your hands frequently
  • keeping hands away from face (specifically nose, eyes and mouth).
  • and keeping a distance from people who are not feeling well.

Tip 2: Increase your water intake

You’ve probably heard that drinking water is good for your health. However, in one survey, more than three-quarters of respondents said they don’t consume enough. (2)

Proper hydration is essential for strong immune function. Our circulatory system is responsible for delivering nutrients throughout the body along with removing toxins. Making sure it has enough water to do both helps support our immunity. (3)

Keep a glass or bottle of water with you at all times and drink it throughout the day to give your bloodstream the fluids it needs to function efficiently.

Tip 3: Work on losing excess weight

Obesity is linked to inflammation, and being overweight can even increase your risk of contracting the flu virus, potentially damaging the function of cells that help the body fight infection. (4)

Actions you can take to support your weight loss efforts include eating more whole foods and less processed foods. Increasing your physical activity also helps. If you’re not very active right now, start with just five minutes a day. As it gets easier, increase the amount little by little, working up to 30 minutes (or more) a day.

Tip 4: Get some sleep

Another great tip for good health this winter is to make sure you get enough sleep.

Sleep is not a luxury or something you should try to get when you “have more time”. If you don’t get enough shut-eye on a regular basis, it can negatively affect your immune system, both now and in the future, because it affects innate immunity (due to your body’s ability to fight disease through biological evolution. ) and adaptive immunity (immunity that we develop after exposure to a new virus or bacteria). (5)

Making sleep a priority today helps you stay healthier in the months ahead.

Tip 5: Find ways to deal with your stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life. But if you don’t find a way to effectively deal with your stressors, it can damage your body’s immune response, reducing the number of cells you have that are responsible for fighting viruses. (6)

What can you do to help reduce your stress levels?

Listening to music can help lower your stress levels...and lowering your stress levels can help keep you healthy, no matter the season.

  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Go for a walk
  • Several times throughout the day, stop what you’re doing and take a few deep breaths
  • Talking to a close family member, friend, or mental health professional can also help relieve your stress

Tip 6: Adjust your nutritional supplement regimen

You may already be taking some type of nutritional supplement. Adding certain nutrients to your current regimen can be helpful during the winter months. Nutrients associated with stronger immunity include vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as iron, zinc, and selenium. (7)

Doing things like these can help your immune system stay strong this winter. That makes it a season of health versus a season of sickness, and that’s a great thing.

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