Staying healthy is at the forefront of most people’s minds each winter every year and this year, it is even more important as the nation faces the challenges of Covid-19.
However, the basic strategies to stay healthy are very similar in the cold and flu season, as they are when facing Covid.
*Clean hands - washing your hands is the single most important tool you have to stay healthy. It has always been an important part of staying healthy and it will continue to be. Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is best, but an alcohol-based sanitizer is a good back up when you can’t get to a sink.
I have begun washing my hands/sanitizing anytime I enter and exit a new place during the day, and when I return home from work or errands.
*Don’t touch your face. This was a very hard habit for me to break. I didn’t realize how much I touched my face over the course of a day. The best action here is simply awareness. It is a hard habit to break but by being conscious of it you can make progress. I have asked my clients to call me on it when they see me doing it.
*Eat a healthy diet. Focus on protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. The various colors of produce each signal a different antioxidant so “eat the rainbow” to get a wide variety.
Minimize sugar as it has inflammatory properties and can weaken the immune system. The same is true of alcohol.
*Get moving. Exercise is the best prescription we can be given for a healthy immune system. However, excessive over-exercising has been tied to a temporary decrease in immune function so here is your excuse from a Personal Trainer :) to keep your workouts to 60 minutes or less as we get through this winter.
*Get enough sleep. 2020 has been particularly stressful and often it is difficult to quiet your mind when you lie down at night. Try to limit exposure to news and social media at least an hour before bed. A nightly ritual can signal to the body that it is time to sleep. Try to keep bedtime hours consistent throughout the week.
I personally have never taken vitamins or supplements, as I feel that my healthy habits are sufficient. However, some people do need additional Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, etc. In these cases, it is best to consult with a doctor or pharmacist to rule out any side effects and/or medication interactions.
Minnesota winters are long and can wear you down in the best of years. Entering this winter as healthy as possible is key to getting through in order to welcome Spring 2021.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with specific health or fitness questions.
Megan Leipholtz, CPT