As the weather starts to cool down, it is more important than ever to look after your health, keep your immune system strong and have a fighting fit body to prevent any unwanted nasty colds and flus.
While classes are a great way to stay active and healthy – they are also full of shared germs, so follow these 9 tips to avoid the flu, so you’ll actually make it that yoga studio you’ve been dying to go to.
All of those heaters in your home or office, and the dry weather outside will make you more dehydrated in the colder months. It’s important to keep your fluid intake up to keep your mucous membranes soft and moist and prevent tiny cracks that allow viruses and bacteria to enter. Downing a water bottle after class, drinking a cup of tea or eating a vegetable-packed soup are all great options.
Catch some sunshine
Did you know that low vitamin D levels are linked with an increased susceptibility to infections? It might be cold – and you might not actually be able to see the sun! – but make sure to get outside every day to strengthen your immune system.
Wipe down equipment
Germs can spread quickly across fitness class equipment. Make sure you don’t forget to wipe down your matt, kettlebells, resistance bands – and everything else – both before and after class.
Eat lots of deep colored fruits and vegetables
These antioxidant and polyphenol-packed powerhouses will help strengthen your immune system and fight infection, too. Make sure you get a variety of colors, ranging from purple to red, orange and of course, green. Your body will definitely thank you for it!
…and more yogurt!
Probiotics are live microorganisms, often referred to as “good bacteria” that you can consume through cultured or fermented foods, as well as in supplement form. These are the little guys that help with nutrient absorption and digestive health. You can find probiotics in many dairy products like, Greek yogurt, Kefir or Skyr, as well as kimchi, sauerkraut, natto and fermented soy-based products.
Pump up your Vitamin C intake
This long-standing antioxidant helps fight free radicals and keep your immune system strong. But that doesn’t mean you should load up on sugary orange juice! Some of the best sources of Vitamin C include berries, kale, red and yellow bell peppers, as well as some of the noted“superfoods” such as camu camu, acerola cherries, and goji berries.
Reduce stress – with exercise!
Emotional stress can enhance inflammation inside our bodies as well as decrease the strength of our immune system. If you are feeling overwhelmed, make sure you take part in some kind of stress relief activity that you find makes you happier – like going to an exercise class!
Cut back on the booze
Sorry to be the one to have to break the news, but sadly alcohol depresses our immune systems! Going easy on the drinks will not just boost the strength of your immune system but it will also help you see results quicker from all your exercise classes (win,win!).
Get some shut-eye
Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep! Making sure you step away from the electronics so that you can start to switch off before you close your eyes, have a dark and quiet environment to enhance the quality of your sleep and leave any lingering thoughts away from the pillow will help you catch some much deserved, quality sleep.
What are you doing to stay healthy this fall and winter? Comment below!
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Kara Landau (a.k.a Travelling Dietitian) is an Australian dietitian and nutritionist based in NYC. She’s a spokesperson for healthy food brands, lover of sourcing the best new nutritious products around, barre class enthusiast and all round healthy foodie. Join Kara on Facebook and Instagram.