The winter months are fast approaching and, though we cheer at the oncoming holiday festivities, with winter comes the added woe of “cold and flu season” to contend with. So what do you do if you want to avoid sicknesses that often plague the colder times of the year?
Well, as much as being proactive and wrapping up helps to keep you healthy, there are also bad habits making you sick that are best avoided if you want to stay healthy over the winter months.
1. Getting Less Than 6 Hours Of Sleep
Several studies have linked sleep deprivation to obesity  and depression, as well as to suppression of the immune system , which is one of the main reasons not getting enough shut eye can lead us to get sick so often!
What can we do though? Well, many popular apps are now dedicated to improving users’ sleeping patterns. One app, in particular, called Sleep Genius even bases part of its method on the findings of NASA research aimed at getting optimal sleep cycles for astronauts. Others are dedicated solely to filtering out those blue light rays from our screens that are so disastrous to our sleep cycles. We don’t suggest a complete blackout, but simply reading a good book before bed instead of using a screen device can go a long way to getting you a much better night’s sleep.
2. Being Inactive
Getting a good amount of sleep is an important factor in healthy living that is often taken for granted, as is simply keeping active in our day-to-day lives. Amongst the ill effects on our health of having an inactive lifestyle are the added risk of heart disease, adult onset diabetes, and a doubled risk of obesity. Hit the gym or exercise regularly, on the other hand, and you’ll be enhancing your immune system as you relieve stress.
The best way to deal with this problem is to set up an effective routine. Research points to both morning and evenings as being the best time for a workout. That being said, perhaps what best fits into your daily routine is the most likely to keep you motivated to keep going consistently. For those of you who like to do a morning routine though, there’s the benefit of not having to worry for the rest of the day once the morning sweat session is out of the way. An added bonus is the release of endorphins you feel post-workout which are a great way to kick off the day in a positive frame of mind.
3. Touching Your Face Often
Stop touching yourself! Research suggests that human beings touch themselves in a way that’s detrimental to their health 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. Dr. Wladimir Alonso and his team at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, however, carried out an illuminating study on human behaviour showing that we should be shifting our focus during flu season. Illnesses are most commonly transmitted by touching a contaminated surface and then our face, allowing the virus to enter through our respiratory system. Alonso’s research though, showed that we touch our faces at a higher rate than we touch potentially contaminated surfaces.
Many medical initiatives strongly recommend washing your hands frequently to avoid transmitting diseases. Whilst this is undoubtedly sound advice, the study shows us that this may not be enough; we should also do our best to keep those fidgety hands away from our face.
4. Not Eating Enough Vegetables
A surefire way to put yourself at risk of getting sick during the winter months is by not ingesting enough of the essential nutrients necessary for keeping your immune system healthy. Vegetables are a must. There’s another added incentive to getting your daily dose of vegetables as well. Recent research has shown that, aside from being an essential cornerstone of a healthy diet, vegetables also give us a psychological boost! Professor Andrew Oswald has spoken of this immediate added benefit of eating vegetables and fruit by saying, “it boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health.”
If you are a veggie fan, there are huge amounts of creative ways out there to treat yourself to a variety of vegetarian dishes that will have you satisfied for months. However, with research suggesting that a majority of people don’t eat the recommended daily intake of 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables, another great way to reach the recommended amount is to incorporate more vegetables creatively, rather than relying simply on a side serving with each main meal. Add some tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach to your morning omelettes or chopped basil to your bagel spread, for example. Adding small amounts throughout the day can go a long way!
It’s never too late to adapt your diet to help you have a healthier veggie-filled lifestyle! Here are a few recipes to help you get started:
via My Mommy Style
via Closet Cooking
via Cilantro and Cintronella
So, get a good night’s sleep, eat plenty of veggies, calm those fidgety hands, but also make sure to get your sweat on. You’re much more likely to have a comfortable winter, focusing on the important things in life rather than reaching for your handkerchief!
Featured photo credit: Style404.com via style404.com
|||^||NBC News: Study Explains Why a Lack of Sleep Gives You the Munchies|
|||^||Web MD: Can Better Sleep Mean Catching Fewer Colds?|
|||^||Symptom Find: 8 Negative Health Effects Of Physical Inactivity|
|||^||Medline: Exercise and Immunity|
|||^||Today: Quit touching your face, flu researchers say|
|||^||Livestrong: The Benefits of Eating Potato Skins|
|||^||Psych Central: Eating More Fruits & Vegetables Tied to Happiness|
|||^||Health Day: Only 1 in 10 Americans Eats Enough Fruits and Veggies|