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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 May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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