Don’t Get Sick: 5 overlooked habits that will keep you healthy
It’s that time of year. Cold and Flu season. Getting a cold this time of year might be more detrimental to staying on course with your fitness than the Pumpkin Lattes on every corner. If you’re like me, half the people you know seem to be coming down with something. Which means if you’re not careful then you might be next. However, there’s good news. You can create a powerful immune system naturally by adhering to a few healthy habits.
When you listen to “experts” on tv and radio talk about how to avoid getting sick they always recommend some new fancy solution.
“Try this secret root found in the Amazon!”
“Drink this tea created by a teacher who works exclusively with lepers.”
It’s always a bit sensational.
We don’t have any magic secrets of staying healthy to share with you. But I do have some tried and true ways to supercharge your immune system and make you as resilient as humanly possible so you can continue to feel your best for yourself, your family, and your career.
1. Exercise regularly
According to a joint study by Appalachian State University and The Denmark Department of Infectious Diseases people who were physically active near daily reduced the number of sickness days by half over a 12-15 week period.
2. If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
To quote a study out of Oxford “An increasing number of scientists interested in the immunomodulatory effects of alcohol further confirmed that both acute and chronic alcohol use have a profound modulatory effect on the immune system.” Translation – Drinking alcohol substantially decreases your immune systems ability to fight infection.
3. Get adequate sleep
Without going into the weeds on the science. Sleep or the lack thereof has a massive impact on your bodies ability to fight infection. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep and most children need 10+ hours of sleep. Here’s the catch, too much sleep may result in poor sleep quality and therefore negate the effects. So try to sleep the Goldilocks way, not too much, not too little.
4. Manage your stress
Stress kills your immune system. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid stressors. However, we can control how we respond to stress. This can have a major impact on your immune system. Try taking up meditation, journaling, or some other activity that will help you cope with your stress in a healthy way.
5. Take cold showers
I know it sounds counterintuitive but a randomized controlled trial out of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam showed that routinely showering hot-to-cold resulted in a 29% reduction of self-reported sick leave. Start small by adding a 30-second cold shower to the end of your hot shower. It’s tough at first but you’ll be glad you did it.
That’s it. 5 simple and effective ways to avoid getting sick this year. Although none of these is a guarantee, when done together they create a powerful immune system that will give you the best possible chance of avoiding sickness and living your best life!