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Common Sense Ways to Beat Cold & Flu Season

Common Sense Ways to Beat Cold & Flu Season

Fall is here which makes for colorful trees, cozy cardigans and comfort food. Unfortunately, it also means flu and cold season is about to hit.

Every year without fail my daughter’s class gets overrun with the sneezing, coughing, running nose pandemonium. No parent wants to see their child miserable with the cold or flu.  Add the necessary day taken off of work with your sick child to the mix and it becomes an even bigger dilemma.

And, if you didn’t know, it already is a big dilemma. The 2014-2015 flu season reached epidemic status. It was one of the worst on record and teachers can only do so much to keep the classrooms sanitized in a sea of runny noses. A University of Arizona Study showed that when someone is sick in an office it only takes four hours for it to spread on surfaces around the office. Transfer this same idea to a classroom with several little hands who are probably not as hygienically conscious as the typical adult and we have kids who don’t typically like sharing joining in.

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Instead of waiting until the inevitable and working against the symptoms, and with all of the conflicting ideas about the flu vaccination, here is a great list of preventative measures you can take.

Diet

Most people know that their diet has a huge effect on their health, but paying extra attention to it during winter months is the key to beating cold and flu season. This is often a time when people start eating heavier meals and the holidays bring many tasty additions. During this time making sure both ourselves and our children are still getting all of the proper micro-nutrients necessary for a healthy immune system is very important, and guess what large orange vegetable has vitamins A, B, C, potassium, copper, magnesium and iron all in one? Pumpkins! Just in time for the holidays. You can add pumpkin to chili, soups, stews, and smoothies.

Another way to help the little ones’ bodies fight off the bad guys is by adding probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are a natural way to boost your immune system to help keep those pesky cold and flu bugs away. One great source is yogurt, most importantly Greek yogurt. Try adding yogurt to your chili and stews in place of sour cream. Other great probiotic choices are sourdough bread and miso soup. Yum.

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While we’re talking comfort foods, adding something sweet to the list is a must. Honey is another food that has been proven to have natural microbial and antioxidant powers. Add a little to your kid’s cereal or oats in the morning or even some yogurt for an added sweetness.

Another large natural preventative vitamin that the family can get through a healthy diet is zinc. You can get large amount of zinc in pumpkin seeds! Another reason for all things pumpkin this season. You can also get large amounts of zinc in mushrooms, spinach, and chickpeas (great in chili).

Sleep

During the fall and winter months it gets dark earlier so making bedtime a bit earlier for the little ones should not be too difficult. Moving bedtime up even one hour gives both you and your little ones more time to rest. A fatigued and burned out body will have to work harder to fight off a cold or flu. Lack of sleep contributes to an unhealthy immune system so making sure to stay well rested plays a key role in helping you stay healthy.

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Cleanliness

Easier said than done with most kids, but this is by far most important factor in keeping the germs from school from getting back into your home. Having to remind the kiddos to wash after using the restroom can get rather repetitive quickly. A great way to remedy this is with notes. In my home a simple sticky note next to the sink, “Don’t forget to wash your hands” works wonders.

Another great preventative measure is hand sanitizer. At school kids don’t have mom or dad there reminding them to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they sneeze and blow their nose properly. It is just the way of things, so I send my little one to school with hand sanitizer as well. There are some great tutorials for natural hand sanitizers you can make right at home.

Lastly, noses are like filters that trap debris. For very young kids this won’t do but once they are old enough to blow their own noses a simple neti pot is a great way to clear out all airborne organisms or bacteria as well as moisten the nasal passages during the dry months.

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All in all it comes down to paying attention to the smaller details, the things that we overlook or simply are too busy to pay close attention to. This flu and cold season focus on these natural preventative measures. Making an extra initiative to eat healthier, sleep better and watch for germs could work for you. Chances are someone in the family will still catch a cold or flu but instead of counting on over the counter help when signs of illness start creeping up using preventative measures decrease the seriousness and length of the cold or flu if caught after all as well.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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