10 ways to stay healthy in winter

Before the rounds of coughs, colds, flu and illnesses start to ramp up with the onset of winter, get ahead of the game with our 10 ways to stay healthy. We will be adding a different tip each day so be sure to check back and keep your family on the track to winter wellness.

Tip #1: Consider your diet

onionFood is our body’s fuel and as such, it can have a big influence on our health. When the winter bugs start going around, boost your diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially those containing vitamin C and other beneficial vitamins and minerals. Here you will find a comprehensive list of immunity boosting foods. Cook with herbs and spices plus garlic, onion, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, and black peppercorns for an immunity boost.

Tip #2: Keep up the exercise

pushupsA moderate level of regular exercise, especially aerobic workouts, can help your immune response and reduce both the number of sick days and the severity of illnesses. Don’t want to brave the sideways rain? Work out at the gym or even at home. The best motivator for exercise is to share it with someone else so get the kids into the backyard for a game of footy, take a walk with the dog, or try out a new dance class with a friend.

Tip #3: Wash those hands

soapDuring winter we cough and sneeze a lot more than at other times so there’s a lot more potential for germs to make their way from person to person. Help stop germs from spreading through regular hand washing. Wash with soap for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly. Coughs and sneezes are better to be kept away from the hands so cover your mouth with the crook of your arm instead. And ditch those used tissues!

Tip #4: Sleep well

sleepOur lives are so busy and we’re on the go, seemingly 24/7. But a good eight hours sleep each night for adults (and more for growing kids) will really help your immune system, as being run-down leaves you more susceptible to illness. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, a bedtime routine can help. Turn lights down low when bedtime is approaching, avoid caffeine, read a book and avoid the bright glare of those smartphone and tablet screens.

Keep your sleeping environment healthy by using an air purifier to help remove allergens and pollutants.

Tip #5: Get a flu shot

vaccineThe flu jab or vaccine is available from either your GP or some pharmacies. If you are over 65, pregnant, or have a medical condition that puts you at greater risk of influenza (such as heart disease or asthma), you can get the vaccine for free. For others, the vaccine costs around $25 to $45. Find our more on the Fight Flu website.

Tip #6: Don’t isolate yourself (unless you’re sick!)

socialisingIt may seem backwards but broadening your social network can actually help keep you healthy. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University discovered that college students with larger social networks produced more flu-fighting antibodies after an influenza vaccine, than those who frequented smaller groups. So get out there and socialise. Choose something fun to do together and you will also benefit from the best medicine of all – laughter!

Of course, if you do come down with an illness during the winter months, try to contain yourself as much as possible to avoid spreading it to others.

Tip #7: Keep hydrated

waterYou know you really should drink more water … it’s the message behind so many health discussions! Our bodies need to be hydrated to function efficiently and to keep our immune system in top shape. Water is best but you can also drink herbal teas (especially green tea for its detox effects). Just try to stay away from those sugary drinks and keep alcohol intake in check.

Tip #8: Reduce stress

meditateStress that is ongoing for a long period of time can affect our immunity system, leaving us more susceptible to colds and flu. Reducing stress levels increases infection-fighting antibodies, so make the most of opportunities to destress.

Yoga, exercise, reading a book, socialising with friends, even just a few minutes of meditation can all help to lower your stress levels.

Tip #9: Get some sun

sunshineWhen our skin is exposed to sunlight it produces vitamin D, which has the ability to modulate our immunity responses. We are lucky in this country that we still see a good amount of sunshine, even in the winter months. So make the most of opportunities to enjoy that sunshine. Always remember to be sun smart when outdoors, even in winter.

Tip #10: Prepare your home for winter

winterInsulation, an efficient heating system, and a warm and dry home can go a long way to keeping you and your family healthy during the colder months. Tick off our checklist of ways to prepare your home for winter and make sure that you’re ready for the cold, wind and rain.

6 Comments

  1. SarahBlair 30/05/2018 at 9:13 pm

    With having a tummy bug going around our family for the last two weeks I would have to agree the prevention is better than the cure. Reducing stress and getting enough sleep are my two biggest hurdles with children that don’t sleep through the night and preparing to move house the stress are lack of sleep is really getting to me. I will have to put aside some time to relax and maybe have a nap…

  2. Kjgee 30/05/2018 at 8:57 am

    Reducing stress and getting enough sleep are definites for me! With four kids picking up germs from school and kindy I am really strict on washing hands too. We all take vit C and I really do believe it helps, we also have a lot of honey in our diet with all it’s wonderful healthy properties! I think getting outside every day is key too, just because it’s cold or wet it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get outside, I’m the opposite to older generations who would say you will catch a cold, I think the fresh air and sunshine can help keep those germs at bay.

  3. Alezandra 16/05/2018 at 9:22 pm

    I’m not sure why but when it says Reduce Stress…i feel like stress is coming. Probably need to try Yoga too. These are all great tips. I believe the Flu shots help a lot. Although some don’t believe in them, if that’s the case, do the rest of the tips here such as having nutritional meals, sleeping well etc. Everyone does it differently, but the key is to do it.

  4. Mands1980 15/05/2018 at 9:17 am

    I hate winter with all the bugs around I do agree with all these suggestions and try to do most of them as think they are beneficial to our health. I don’t tend to get the flu vaccination as it’s fsirly expensive if you were to get the whole family done around $300. But otherwise good fresh air and sunlight, plenty of exercise getting out and about do wanders for your mind.

  5. Shorrty4life1 14/05/2018 at 5:02 pm

    I have decided to better myself for winter by giving up smoking and me and my hubby are signing upto the gym this week. I always wash hands and stay hydrated with the job I’m in as I’m a caregiver and always alot of bugs going around at this time of the year. I also add garlic to my meals and have got me and the hubby and kids on our vitamins all prepared for winter. Great tips on this article. Was a great read.

  6. Bevik1971 14/05/2018 at 4:51 pm

    My partner and I have just made a choice to change our diet – we are going to go on the “Keto” route. Not fully but following some of the principals of the diet. We eat far too many carbs etc and need to change things up 🙂 We also all take 1000mcg of Vitamin C daily (including our 5 year old). We are also really fussy about washing hands ensuring our girl knows the importance of this. The less stress part is a bit hard but I’m trying really hard!!

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