By Peter Eastment
Living in the city of Hobart is beautiful, but when it comes to winter, like all cities we aren’t immune to the cold and flu season. During the cold and flu season we are all desperately trying to ensure that we don’t get the dreaded flu or worse still the “man flu”, but what ACTUALLY works and how can we put up our best defence and avoid catching the flu. Here are just a few everyday solutions to improve your chances of successfully beating the flu this season.
Activity is one of the main pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise doesn’t just help you achieve your athletic ambitions, it assists in minimising the risk of disease and infection improving your overall mental and physical health. .So how does exercise aid in preventing colds and the flu? Through an online survey, researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine polled more than 4,800 people on their health habits and found that those who exercised vigorously for at least two and a half hours a week were about 10% less likely to come down with a flu-like illness. By working on your fitness your immune system is able to operate at a higher level improving your general well-being and protecting you from the risk of catching a cold. Participating in an indoor fitness class or personal training session to maintain movement is something to look forward to during the cold and dark of winter.
Nutrition plays a critical factor in boosting our immune defence%, the gut remains the cornerstone of immune health with 70% of the cells that make up your immune system found in the gut wall. Our immune system needs consistent and regular nourishment to feed the body’s battle against unwanted bacteria or viruses.
Our immune system provides the key minerals and enzymes our bodies need to stay healthy. There are a few simple steps that you can take this season to keep yourself nourished and healthy
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet – By eating a balanced diet that consists of a mixture of carbohydrates, fats, and protein our system will be working with the correct fuel and support it needs. If we aren’t supporting the body with the right level of nutrients our immune system can not operate at the same level, which places us at an increased risk of illness.
- Include green and leafy vegetables – Green and leafy vegetables might not be your favourite but they carry literally thousands of beneficial nutrients that aids in supporting our immune system and provides a great benefit to our overall health. Spinach is one of the densely packed green and leafy vegetables, containing nutrients such as zinc, vitamin A, C, E, K, B6, thiamin, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper just to name a few. It is easily added to almost any meal and supports our immune system in the best possible way.
- Stay Hydrated – By maintaining our hydration and fluid intake our body is able to regulate better and remove toxins from our system. By adding a multivitamin to your water it can provide you with additional nutrients and benefits that may be lacking in your diet or provide that added boost that makes all the difference in raising our defences.
The simple and small factors are more often than not the most effective. By adding small behaviours in cleanliness and self-awareness you will be preventing yourself from attracting the flu, but also from spreading it to others.
The simplest and most effective personal hygiene measure you can take is to simply wash your hands. The Department of Health recommends washing your hands with soap and water, lathering for 15-20 seconds and drying your hands thoroughly.
When in public cover your mouth with your elbow to sneeze or cough. With many diseases spread via airborne particles,this will ensure that the germs aren’t being spread through the air or through your hands. Be mindful of handling cash, picking up pens or flyers and remember to wash your hands after handling items which may have been handled by many.
When in a fitness environment it is so important to wipe down the equipment after use. This ensures that the next person just like you can exercise in a safe and clean environment.
Hopefully, by following all of the above strategies, you’ll remain healthy during the flu season. However, if you do get ill the best thing you can do to stop the spread of infection is to self-isolate and rest. Rest and sleep will be your best friend and will ensure vulnerable people in the community are not exposed. This is one instance where sharing is definitely not caring. Soldiering on is not going to help and only going to extend the recovery process.
So in summary health and wellbeing is the first line of defence against illness and flu. Stay active, eat healthily and practise good hygiene, it’s the simple small steps that will make the biggest difference this winter.
Ready to start moving?
Add some meaningful movement to your day and feel the benefits. Check out our timetable and you’ll find that there’s always a class to suit your lifestyle.